University of Mysore Vs. Gopal Gowda
& ANR  INSC 54 (2 March 1965)
02/03/1965 SHAH, J.C.
CITATION: 1965 AIR 1932 1965 SCR (3) 229
Mysore University Act, 1956, ss. 22, 23,
43--Power to make regulations for "maintenance of standards"--Scope
Under Sections 22, 23, and 43 of the Mysore
University Act, the Academic Council of the University was empowered, inter
alia, to control and operate the teaching, courses of study, to secure
maintenance of standards, etc., and to make necessary regulations including
those relating to examinations and conditions on which students may be admitted
to examinations, degrees, diplomas, etc.
In exercise of these powers, the Academic
Council made certain Regulations relating to the grant of a degree of Bachelor
of Veterinary Science and by clause 3(c of these Regulations, it was provided
that no candidate who failed an examination four times, would permitted to
continue the course.
The respondents were declared unsuccessful in
four successive First Year Course examinations and the Controller of
Examinations informed each respondent that he had lost their right to continue
studying for the degree. The respondents thereupon filed petitions in the High
Court, praying for the issue of writs quashing the orders communicated to them
and directing the University to permit them to appear for the subsequent
examinations and to continue their studies.
The High Court held that Regulation 3(c) was
beyond the competence of the Academic Council and the University.
On appeal to this Court:
HELD: that power to maintain standards in the
course of studies confers authority not merely to prescribe minimum
qualifications for admission, courses of study, minimum attendance at an institution
which may qualify the student for admission to the examination, etc but also
authority to refuse to grant a degree, diploma, or other academic distinction
to students who fail at the final examination and to direct that a student, who
is proved not to have the ability or the aptitude to complete the course within
a reasonable time discontinue the course.
There is no warrant for restricting the
expression "maintenance of standards" only to matters such as minimum
attendance, length of the course and prescription of minimum academic
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeals
Nos. 565-566 of 1963.
Appeals by special leave from the judgment
and order dated January 31, 1962 of the Mysore High Court in Writ Petitions
Nos. 940 and 1056 of 1961.
G.S. Pathak and M/s. Rajinder Narain and Co.
for the appellants.
R. Gopalakrishnan, for the respondent.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
Shah, J. These appeals raise the question whether the Academic Council of the
Mysore University was competent in exercise 230 of the powers conferred by ss.
22, 23 and 43 of the Mysore University Act 23 of 1956 to frame cl. 3(c) of the
Regulations relating to the grant of the degree for Bachelor of Veterinary
Science (B.V.Sc.). The Mysore University Act 23 of 1956---hereinafter referred
to as 'the Act'--was enacted to provide for the reorganisation of the
University of Mysore and other incidental matters. The powers of the University
are described in s. 4. Section 21 provides for the constitution of the Academic
Council--which is one of the authorities of the University designated under s.
13--and s. 22 sets out the powers of the
"The Academic Council shall, subject to
the provisions of this Act, have the control and general regulation of
teaching, courses of studies to be pursued, and maintenance of the standards
thereof and shall exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as
may be prescribed." By s. 23 other powers of the Academic Council are prescribed.
Insofar as it is material, the section provides:
"In particular and without prejudice to
the generality of the powers specified in section 22, the Academic Council
shall have, subject to the provisions of this Act, the following powers,
(a) x x x x (b) x x x x (c) to make
Regulations relating to courses, schemes of examinations and conditions on
which students shall be admitted to the examinations, degrees, diplomas,
certificates and other academic distinctions;" Section 43 of the Act sets
out the scope of the Regulations. enacts:
"Subject to the provisions of this Act,
the Regulations may provide for the exercise of all or any of the powers,
enumerated in "sections 22 and 23 of this Act and for the following
(i) the admission of students to the
(ii) the recognition of the examinations and
degrees of other Universities as equivalent to the examinations and degrees of
(iii) the University courses and examinations
and the conditions on which students of the University and affiliated colleges
and other University institutions shall be admitted to examinations for the
degrees, diplomas and certificates of the University; and 231 (iv) the granting
of exemptions." In exercise of the powers conferred by ss. 22, 23 and 43,
Academic Council made Regulations relating to the grant of a degree for
Bachelor of Veterinary Science. Clause 3(c) of the Regulations is as follows:
"No candidate who fails four times shall
be permitted to continue the course." The Mysore Veterinary College,
Hebbal, Bangalore, is one of the colleges affiliated to the University of
Mysore for training students for the degree course in Bachelor of Veterinary
These two appeals arise on facts which are
closely parallel. Gopala Gowda--respondent in C.A. No. 565 of 1963--was
admitted in the year 1958 as a student in the First Year Course in the Mysore
Veterinary College. Gopala Gowda was declared unsuccessful in four successive
First Year Course examinations. The Controller of Examinations, Mysore
University, then informed Gopala Gowda by letter dated August 2, 1961 that he
"had lost" his right to continue studies for the Bachelor of
Veterinary Science (B.V.Sc.) course under Regulation 3(c) of the Regulations
governing the course of study framed by the University leading to the degree of
the Bachelor of Veterinary Science (B.V.Sc.). Gopala Gowda then presented a
petition in the High Court of Mysore praying that, for reasons set out in his
affidavit, the High Court do issue a writ quashing the order communicated by
the Controller of Examinations in his letter dated August 2, 1961 and do
further direct the University of Mysore and the Controller of Examinations to
permit him to appear for the subsequent examinations and to prosecute his
training for the Bachelor of Veterinary Science Course. The other respondent
Bheemappa Reddy had also failed to satisfy the examiners in four successive
First Year Course examinations commencing from April 1959, and on being
intimated by the Controller of Examinations that he will not be permitted to
continue his training for the Bachelor of Veterinary Science (B.V. Sc.) course
under Regulation 3(c), he flied a similar writ petition in the High Court.
The High Court of Mysore held that Regulation
3(c) of the Regulations governing the course of study leading to conferment of
the degree of Bachelor of Veterinary Science of the Mysore University could not
be said "to subserve the purpose of maintaining the standards mentioned in
s. 22 of the Mysore University Act" and on that account was beyond the
competence of the Academic Council or the University and those bodies had no
power to prevent Gopala Gowda and Bheemappa from prosecuting their studies and
from appearing at the subsequent examinations. With special leave. the
University of Mysore, the Controller of Examinations and the Principal of the
Mysore Veterinary College, have appealed.
In the view of the High Court, under s. 22 of
the Act the Academic Council could prescribe minimum qualifications for 232
admission to a degree course in an affiliated college, and also could prescribe
standards which qualify a candidate .for admission to the degree or academic
distinction, but the Council had not the power to prescribe a condition on the
'satisfaction of which a student admitted to the Course could prosecute his
study in the course to which he had been admitted. Power to frame Regulations
for "maintenance of standards" within the meaning of s. 22 and
prescribing conditions on which a student shall be admitted to an examination
within the meaning of s. 23(3) (c)did not.
in the opinion. of the High Court, import
power to make Regulation preventing a student admitted to a course from
prosecuting his study, for the only consequence of failure in an examination is
that the student does not qualify himself for admission to the degree sought by
him. and the University would be entitled to withhold conferment of the degree.
but not to obstruct the prosecution of the course of study. The expression "maintenance
of standards" in the view of the High Court could only take in
considerations such as undergoing a course of study and keeping a prescribed
minimum attendance to an institution maintained or recognised by the
University, but it does not and "cannot be taken to mean that by reason
only of the fact that a student has not attained the standard of knowledge or
proficiency required for passing the examination within that period, he can be
said to be for all times incapable of attaining that standard." The High
Court proceeded to observe "The power to maintain certain standards before
a degree or other academic distinction is conferred upon a person involves the
power to withhold the conferment of that degree unless a person attains the
necessary standard, but it cannot either in logic or in justice involve the
power to refuse to permit a person to attain that standard. That power can and
should be exercised at the time of admission into the course of study if the
University is of the opinion that the applicant for .admission into the course
does not even possess the minimum suitability for taking that course of study.
Once it admits him into the course of study, it must be held to have
entertained the opinion that he does have the minimum suitability to take that
course which means that he has the capacity by undergoing the course of study
to attain the standard necessary for receiving the degree." We are unable
to agree with the view expressed by the high Court. The Academic Council is
invested with the power of controlling and generally regulating teaching,.
courses of studies to be pursued. and maintenance of the standards thereof. and
for those purposes the Academic Council is competent to make regulations.
amongst others, relating to the courses, schemes of examination and conditions
on which students shall be admitted to the examinations. degrees.
diplomas. certificates and other academic
distinctions. The Academic Council is thereby invested with power to control
the entire academic life of the student from the stage of 233 admission. to a
course of study to the. ultimate conferment of a degree or academic
distinction. Admission to a course or branch of study depending upon possession
of the minimum qualifications prescribed does not divest the Academic.
Council of its control over the' academic
career of the student, for the Council has for maintaining standards the power
to prescribe schemes of examinations, arid also to prescribe conditions on
which students. Shall be admitted to the examinations. "Power to prescribe
conditions, On which, a student may be admitted to the examinations, in our
opinion, necessarily implies the power to refuse to admit a student in certain
contingencies, for the power to admit to an examination implies the power to
weed out students who have on the application of a reasonable test proved
themselves to be unfit to continue the course or persecute training in that
course. If on account of general inaptitude for being trained in a course or on
account of supervening disability to prosecute a course of study, a student
admitted to that course is found by the Academic Council to be unfit to
prosecute his training, it would, in our judgment, be within the power of the
Academic Council, in exercise of its authority to control and maintain
standards, and also of its authority to prescribe conditions on which students
may be admitted to examinations, to direct that the student shall discontinue
training in that course. And failure by a student to qualify for promotion or
degree in four examinations, is certainly a reasonable Lest of such inaptitude
or supervening disability. If after securing admission to an institution
imparting training for professional courses, a student may be held entitled to
continue indefinitely to attend the institution without adequate application
and to continue to offer himself for successive examinations, a lowering of
academic standards would inevitably result.
Power to maintain standards in the course of
studies. in our judgment, confers authority not merely to prescribe minimum
qualifications for admission, courses of study, and minimum attendance at an
institution which may qualify the student for admission to the examination, but
also authority to refuse to grant a degree, diploma, certificate or other academic
distinction to students who fail to satisfy the examiners at the final
examination, and to direct that a student who is proved not to have the ability
or the aptitude to complete the course within a reasonable time to discontinue
the course. There is no warrant for restricting the expression
"maintenance of the standards" only to matters such as minimum
attendance, length of the course and prescription of minimum academic
The High Court was therefore in error in
holding that the Academic Council had no power to prescribe Regulation 3(c). We
are informed at the Bar, however, that since the High Court decided. the case
on January 31, 1962, the two respondents were permitted to continue their
courses of study and they have appeared for the subsequent examinations and
they were declared to have duly 234 passed their second and third year
examination and have been permitted to keep terms for the degree examination.
Even though, the view taken by the High Court was erroneous, we do not think. having
regard to the fact that the respondents were permitted to continue their course
of study, the University not having applied for any interim orders pending
disposal of these appeals, that any order should be passed in these appeals so
as to deprive the respondents of the training they have received.
These appeals are filed with special leave,
and in the exceptional circumstances of the case, we do not think we would be
justified, merely because we disagree with the interpretation of the High Court
of the relevant regulation, in making an effective order against the
respondents so as to nullify the results declared by the University concerning
them in respect of the second and third year examinations.
The appeals are therefore dismissed. There
will be no order as to costs.