Board of Examinations Vs. G. Anand Ramamurthy & Ors  Insc 330 (19 May 2006)
Ar. Lakshmanan & Lokeshwar Singh Panta Dr. Ar. Lakshmanan, J.
consent of parties the special leave petition itself is taken up for final
special leave petition is directed against the final judgment and order of the
High Court of Delhi on 27.4.2006 passed in LPA No.661 of 2006, which was in
turn directed against the judgment of the learned Single Judge of the High
Court of Delhi dated 21.4.2006 passed in W.P.(C) No.5565-66 of 2006, whereby
the writ petition filed by the respondents was allowed.
have heard Mr. Gopal Subramanium, learned Addl. Solicitor General for the
petitioner and Mr. S. Bala Krishnan, learned Senior Advocate for the respondents.
The matter was argued at length.
have perused the Bulletin of Information issued by the National Board of
Examinations and also the Bulletin of Information cum Application Form for Diplomate
of National Board (Final Examination), Centralised Entrace Test for the
attention was also drawn to Rule 7.12, which deals with eligibility for
appearing in super specialities, and reads thus:
appearing in Super Specialities:
Super Specialities and Surgical Super Specialities (refer Para 1.2)
should be in possession of a recognised Postgraduate degree qualification as
specified under each speciality given in the syllabus for Medical and Surgical
super specialities respectively.
should have completed the prescribed three years training in the speciality
after postgraduate degree, in an institution recognised by the
MCI/NBE/University as specified under each speciality.
should be in possession of a certificate of training from the Head of the
department duly countersigned by the Head of the institution and produce
necessary records as may be required.
There will be three years training in each Super Speciality for all the
subjects listed under clause 1.2 of this Bulletin with effect from January,
will be required to produce performance record (log book) containing details of
work done by him/her duly certified by the supervisor, and countersigned by the
administrative Head of the Institution at the time of their Practical
Examination failing which he/she will not be allowed to take the practical
a certificate to this effect has to be attached alongwith application form for
eligibility purposes. The supervisor would also offer his remarks on the
training received by the candidate in the log book. Honorary staff members, who
are recognised as supervisors by their institutions or the local university
will also be recognised by the NBE." According to Mr. Gopal Subramanium,
the respondents herein are not eligible to sit for examination and, therefore,
the permission granted by the High Court permitting to sit for the examination
is not proper and not called for. Rule 7(12) specifically provides that the
candidates should be in possession of the recognised postgraduate degree
qualification as specified under each speciality given in the syllabus for
Medical and Surgical super specialities respectively. Clause 7(12), sub-clause
(ii), stipulates that candidates should have completed the prescribed three
years training in the speciality after postgraduate degree, in an institution recognised
by the MCI/NBE/University as specified under each speciality. According to Mr. Gopal
Subramanium, the respondents will be completing three years training only by 30th June, 2006.
are not qualified and eligible to appear for June 2006 examination.
Bala Krishnan, learned Senior Counsel for the respondents, per contra submitted
that the stand of the petitioner herein was totally inconsistent not only in
terms of the eligibility criteria but also as per past practice. According to
him, the petitioner Institution has been allowing the candidates for taking the
super speciality examinations, which were conducted in the month of June. But
the facts remain that such a past practice as argued before the High Court has
not been pleaded at all. This apart, the alleged past practice cannot override
the statutory rules and regulations since the respondents are not qualified as
per Rule 7(12). We are, therefore, not permitting them to sit for the
Examinations in June, 2006 as directed by the High Court.
have carefully considered the submissions made by both the learned Senior
Counsel. In our opinion, the High Court was not justified in directing the
petitioner to hold examinations against its policy in complete disregard to the
mandate of this Court for not interfering in the academic matters particularly
when the interference in the facts of the instant matter lead to perversity and
promotion of illegality. The High Court was also not justified in exercising
its power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to merge a past
practice with decision of the petitioner impugned before it to give relief to
the respondents herein. Likewise the High Court was not correct in applying the
doctrine of legitimate expectation even when the respondents herein cannot be
said to be aggrieved by the decision of the petitioner herein. The High Court
was also not justified in granting a relief not sought for by the respondents
in the writ petition. The prayer of the respondents in the writ petition was to
seek a direction to the petitioner herein to hold the examinations as per the
schedule mentioned in the Bulletin of 2003. However, the High Court passed an
order directing the petitioner herein to hold the examinations for the
respondents according to the schedule mentioned in the Bulletin of 2003. The
effect of this order is that the petitioner would have to permit the
respondents to take the exam even if they do not meet the eligibility criteria
fixed by the petitioner in its policy of 2003. Our attention was also drawn to
the Bulletin of Information of 2003. In view of categorical and explicit
disclosures made in the Bulletin, all candidates were made aware that
instructions contained in the Information Bulletin including but not limited to
examination schedule were liable to changes based on decisions taken by the
Board of the petitioner from time to time. In the said Bulletin of Information,
candidates are requested to refer to the latest bulletin or corrigendum that
may be issued to incorporate these changes.
it is seen that the petitioner has categorically reserved its rights in the
Bulletin of Information to change instructions as aforesaid which would
encompass and include all instructions relating to schedule of examinations. It
is also mentioned in the Bulletin in no unascertain terms that the instructions
contained in the Bulletin including the schedule of examinations were liable to
changes based on the decisions taken by the Governing Body of the petitioner
from time to time. Hitherto Examinations were being conducted twice a year i.e.
in the months of June and December, 2006. There could be no embargo in the way
of the petitioner bonafidely changing the Examination Schedule, more so when it
had admittedly and categorically reserved its rights to do so to the notice and
information of the respondent nos.1 and 2. In any event, the completion of
three years training is a necessary concomitant for appearing in the DNB final
the bare perusal of clause 4 of the Bulletin of Information, June 2006, it
manifest that the petitioner has reserved right to change the
guidelines/practice and further it has been made absolutely clear that the
candidate shall be governed by the Bulletin of Information for the session in
which the candidate appears.
has been alleged against the petitioner in the writ petition. The Governing
Body of the petitioner in the larger interest of the candidates as well as of
the petitioner, and medical education in general, has decided to change the
current practice of conducting the examinations on biannual basis for all the
disciplines of modern medicine with the revised policy to conduct the biannual
examination only in those streams where number of candidates is more than 100,
from June 2006 onwards to curtail its expenditure. The above policy decision,
in our opinion, cannot at all be faulted with.
result, we set aside the order passed by the learned Single Judge as affirmed
by the learned Judges of the Division Bench of the High Court of Delhi. In view
of this, nothing further survives in this special leave petition. The special
leave petition is accordingly disposed of.
place on record the statement made by the learned Additional Solicitor General
that any student who was admitted consequent to the Bulletin of Information
published for the year June, 2003/ August, 2003 and have opted to undergo
training for a period specified is not being offered any relaxation and no
student is being permitted to sit for any examination contrary to the said