J&K State Board of Education Vs. Feyaz Ahmed Malik & Ors  INSC
27 (28 January 2000)
D.P.Mohapatro, M.Jagannadha Rao Mohapatra,J.
concerned about the menace of mass copying in examinations the Jammu and
Kashmir State Board of School Education (for short the Board) made certain
amendments to the existing regulations governing cancellation of examinations
on account of mass copying, outside interference or any other reason which
vitiates the sanctity of examination. By the said amendment regulations 66 (a)
and 66(b) were introduced which read as follows:
Notwithstanding anything contained in these regulations the Chairman may, on
receipt of written report from Superintendent/s of any authorised State
Government Officer or Officer/s of the Education Department, cancel any
examination/s either partly or wholly for reasons to be recorded in writing
whenever he is of the opinion that any examination conducted by the Board at
any centre has been vitiated on account of mass copying by examinees or outside
interference or any other reason which deprives examination/s of its sanctity.
The Chairman may also for reasons to be recorded in writing, cancel any
examination/s either partly or wholly on the basis of any report or information
from any source other than those mentioned above including any anonymous
information in case he is satisfied that the sanctity of the examination/s has
been adversely affected on account of mass copying by the examinees or outside
interference at any examination/s centre/s for any other reason vitiating the
process of conduct of examination/s.
that the Chairman shall before acting upon any such information received from
any source under clause 66-b above have the same verified by the subject experts/officers
of the Board or any authorised Government Officer or Officer of the Education
Department. The result of the examination/s of any such centre/s shall remain
withheld pending verification of the above information (Clause 66-b) received
by the Chairman and his final order thereon.
further that the cancellation of any examination/s under 66(a) and 66(b) shall
not prevent the Board from initiating appropriate proceedings against any
student/s who may be reported to have used unfair means by the concerned
examination staff appointed at the centres.
also but subject to the foregoing proviso, the examinees of any such centre/s
shall be allowed to appear in the subsequent Examination/s conducted by the
Board, if otherwise eligible under rules.
amending notification was issued by the Secretary of the Board in terms of the
decision taken by the Board at its meeting held on 20-1-1993. Subsequently, the Chairman of the Board issued the
notification dated 29-6-1993, cancelling the entire examination
of Higher Secondary Part-II for regular candidates held in May-June session
1993 in the centres stated therein on account of mass copying and violation of
sanctity of the examination. Being aggrieved by the said order of the Chairman
some candidates who had appeared in the examination at the centres in question
filed writ petition in the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir. The High Court by
the common judgment rendered on 29-9-1994 allowed all the cases. The High Court struck down certain provisions of
the Notification dated 27-1-1993; quashed the Notification dated 29-6- 1993 and
directed the Board to form a committee of experts who shall, after examining
the answer scripts, verify as to whether or not the examinees of those centres
resorted to copying on large scale, with the further direction that the
committee shall record their reasons for coming to the conclusions. This
exercise, as directed by the High Court was to be undertaken within a period of
forty five days from the date of the judgment. The High Court observed that for
the purpose, the Board authorities can also utilise the services of experts
outside the valley if they so choose. The High Court further ordered that the
Board will after receiving the report from the expert committee take decision
in the case. The Board was given liberty to formulate fresh rules on the
subject; but while doing so the parameters laid down in the judgment be taken
into consideration. In the judgment, the High Court issued certain precautions
to be taken in particular to the following effect: Delegation of power of
verification should be made to Body of Experts which can well opinion on the
correctness or otherwise of the report of mass copying received by the Board;
Board must make endeavour to limit their prospective sources of information
with regard to mass copying to high ranking officers of high calibre;
machinery of flying squads should be evolved in such a manner so that they can
control the supervision of the centres falling within their definite area;
power of cancellation of results should be vested in the Board.
peculiar circumstances of the case, parties are left to bear their own costs.
said judgment is under challenge in these appeals.
the impugned judgment it appears that the High Court considering the case of
both the parties, formulated eight questions: 1. Does the Notification dated
January27,1993 suffer from being violative of Art.14 of the Indian
Does the Notification arm the Board with powers which are arbitrary in nature?
Does the Notification provide for a different agency as repository of power so
far as cancellation of the examination is concerned and in doing so does it
violate the scheme of the Act?
Does the Notification dated 27-1-1993
suffer from vagueness?
What can be the contours of rules of natural justice in a matter like
Does the Notification dated 27-1-1993
suffer from an infirmity in so far as it lays down the source from which the
information with regard to mass copying can be received?
Notification dated 27-1-1993 vitiated if so to what extent?
Consequently is the notification dated June 29, 1993 bad in law?
What are the findings of the Court? The findings of the High Court on the question
of validity of the Notification dated 27-1-1993 which was discussed under
question No.7 afore stated was to the following effect:
discussed the Notification dated 27-1- 1993 in all its pros and cons we found
the same to be ultra vires of the Art.14 of Constitution of India and the Act,
to the extent indicated below:- a. That the notification delegates the power of
cancellation of examination to the Chairman whereas the Act makes this power
exercisable by the Board. That upsets the schemes of the act and makes a
delegation of power against the spirit of the Act;
That the Notification does not make any provision for verification of a report
by subject experts when the same is received in terms of its clause 66(a). That
way while taking action in terms of this sub clause, the notification laid down
the power which is arbitrary in nature;
That first proviso to the notification is faulty to the extent that it authorises
the Authorised Government Officer to verify a report received by the Chairman.
After all how can a Tehsildar, a Sub Divisional Magistrate, a police officer,
Additional Deputy Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner verify the fact whether
in a certain paper or at a certain centre copying was resorted to:
Clause (V) of the Definition Chapter of the notification from sub clause (c) to
(e) is struck down as the same makes the notification inconsistent and vague.
High Court held that the notification was ultra vires of Article 14 of
Constitution of India and the Jammu & Kashmir Board of School Education,
Act, 1975 (Act No.XXVIII of 1975) (for short the Act), since under the
notification power of cancellation of examination is delegated to the Chairman
whereas the Act makes this power exercisable by the Board and secondly, that
the notification does not make any provision for verification of a report by
subject experts when the same is received in terms of clause 66(a) and
therefore, it is arbitrary in nature. Another infirmity pointed out by the High
Court in its judgment is that the first proviso to the notification is invalid
to the extent that it authorised a Government Officer to verify the report
received by the Chairman. It appears that the High Court found it difficult to
reconcile that a Tehsildar, a sub Divisional Magistrate, a Police Officer,
Additional Deputy Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner should verify the fact
whether at a certain centre mass copying was resorted to.
learned counsel for the appellants contended that the High Court has committed
an error in quashing the notification of the Board and also the notification
issued by the Chairman adding certain clauses in the regulations vesting the
power in the Chairman to cancel the examination at a centre on being satisfied
on the reports received from the flying squad or other agencies that there was
large scale copying in the examinations at the centre. The learned counsel
further submitted that these regulations were framed by the Board which is
constituted by the Government with men with considerable experience and who are
well aware of the situation prevailing in the State and particularly in the
educational institutions. The abnormal situation prevailing in the State on
account of which serious law and order problem is being faced by the
authorities of the Board necessitate vesting of power to take immediate
measures to control the situation in the examinations.
considering the merits of the case it will be convenient to notice some
provisions of the Act. As the preamble shows the Act was enacted to reform and reorganise
school education in the State and consolidate and amend the law relating
thereto. In Section 3 of the Act it is mandated that the Government shall, by
notification in the Government Gazette, establish a Board of School Education
for the State to advise the Government on matters of policy relating to
Elementary Education, Secondary Education and Higher Secondary Education and in
respect of matters specified by or under this Act.
Section 4 the Board shall consist of the Chairman; the Commissioner Education;
the Secretary Education; the Director School Education (Boys); the Director
School Education (Girls); a representative each of the two Universities of
Kashmir and Jammu respectively, to be nominated by the concerned University
Council; four school teachers to be nominated by Government, of which two shall
be lady teachers concerned with Girls Education and two male teachers concerned
with Boys Education; An eminent educationist unconnected with the
administration, to be nominated by the Government; a representative of one of
the Teachers Training Institutions in the State, to be nominated by the
Government; and two persons to be nominated by Government one lady and one male
officer, from among Principals, Headmasters and Headmistresses of teaching
institutions of the State.
the provision it is clear that the Board consists of men from different walks
of life, rich in experiences in the field of education in the State.
Section 10 of the Act are enumerated the powers and functions of the Board. Some
of the provisions of the Section are noted below :
conduct public examinations for persons who have pursued the secondary school
and higher secondary (school graduation) school education courses;
publish the results of examinations conducted by the Board;
admit candidates to the examinations of the Board under the conditions laid
down by the Regulations;
to take such measures as the Board may think necessary to raise the standard of
the education in the State and advise the Government on matters of policy
relating to elementary, secondary and higher secondary education;
to frame regulations for carrying out its purposes;
to appoint committees consisting of such members of the Board and such other
persons, if any, as the Board in each case may deem fit for carrying out
specified purposes and to delegate to these committees, such powers as it may
delegate such of its powers to any officer or committee of the Board as it may
deem fit, provided that such delegation is made by a majority of not less than
two-thirds of the members of the Board;
to constitute various divisions, units and committees for the furtherance of
Section 13 it is provided that the Chairman shall be the Head of the Board and
shall ensure that this Act and the regulations are faithfully observed and
shall have all powers necessary for the purpose. Sub-Section (4) of the Section
lays down that if, in the opinion of the Chairman, any emergency has arisen
which requires that immediate action should be taken, he shall take such action
as he deems necessary and shall thereafter, report the action taken to the
Board at its next meeting.
24 which makes provision for appointment and constitution of committees of the
Board provides that the Board shall appoint a Committee for Examinations.
Section 25 some of the powers and functions of the Committees which are
enumerated in Clause © are (iv) to consider and decide the cases relating to
misconduct and use of unfair means in the examination conducted by the Board;
to constitute such other sub-committee and delegate such powers to it as it may
Section 33 the Board is vested with powers to make regulations for the purposes
of carrying into effect the provisions of the Act. In sub-Section (2) of the
said section it is provided that in particular and without prejudice to the
generality of the foregoing powers, the Board may make regulations providing
for the following matters, namely;
procedure of conduct of business of the Board and its committees;
conditions under which the candidates shall be admitted to the examinations of
the Board and shall be eligible for diplomas and certificates;
conduct of examinations;
matters which by this Act are to be or may be prescribed or provided by
fair reading of the relevant provisions of the Act as noted above, the position
is manifest that the Board is constituted to advise the State Government in
policy matters relating to education and also to regulate establishment of
educational institutions and to ensure proper functioning of such institutions.
The Board is also vested with the power to conduct examinations for awarding
certificates and diplomas to successful candidates. Power is vested in the
Board under the Act to ensure proper conduct of examinations. Under the
provisions of the Act, Board is vested with power to constitute committees for
different purposes, to delegate any of its (Board) functions in favour of the
committee and also to delegate any of its functions in favour of any officer of
the Board. If the Board in its wisdom considered it advisable to delegate the
power to take action in the matter of mass copying at any examination centre in
favour of its Chairman no exception can be taken to it on the ground of want of
power. In that case the Chairman acts as a delegate of the Board. Any action
taken or order passed by the Chairman on the strength of the delegation made by
the Board cannot be faulted on the ground of lack of competence or authority.
On careful consideration of the provisions of the Act and the regulation of the
Board under challenge, we are of the view that both the Board and its Chairman
were within their powers and authority in issuing the notifications dated 27-1-1993 and 29-6-1993
respectively. The High Court was clearly in error in quashing the said
notifications as beyond the power of the Board and its authorities.
judging the authority or otherwise all steps taken by authorities of the Board
to take action against candidates taking resort to mass malpractice it should
be borne in mind that the Board is entrusted with the duty of maintaining
higher standards of education and proper conduct of examinations. It is an
expert body consisting of persons coming from different walks of life who are
engaged in or interested in the field of education and have wide experience.
The decision of such an expert body should be given due weightage by courts.
This Court in the case of in AIR 1970 SC 1269 observed: The universities are
responsible for their standards and the conduct of examinations. The essence of
the examinations is that the worth of every person is appraised without any
assistance from an outside source. If at a centre the whole body of students
receive assistance and manage to secure success in the neighbourhood of 100%
when others at other centres are successful only at an average of 50%, it is
obvious that the university or the Board must do something in the matter. It
cannot hold a detailed quasi-judicial inquiry with a right to its alumni to
plead and lead evidence etc. before the results are withheld or the
examinations cancelled. If there is sufficient material on which it can be
demonstrated that the university was right in its conclusion that the
examinations ought to be cancelled then academic standards require that the universitys
appreciation of the problem must be respected. It would not do for the Court to
say that you should have examined all the candidates or even their
representatives with a view to ascertaining whether they had received
assistance or not. To do this would encourage indiscipline if not also perjury.
High Court in Rajiv Ratna Shukla and another vs. University of Allahabad, AIR 1987 Allahabad 208, made the following observations
otherwise the Statute and Ordinances provide for an authority known as
Examination Committee to look into and decide such matter. As the examination
committee after looking into the report was satisfied that the examinations
were not conducted fairly it would be unfair for this Court to interfere in
writ jurisdiction. It need not be mentioned that a finding recorded by a
Tribunal administrative or quasi judicial, body is a finding of fact if it is
based on consideration of evidence howsoever meagre and insufficient it may be.
The report of the flying squad coupled with the statement of Centre
Superintendent was available with the examination committees. Even if another
committee or this Court on the same material could have come to a different
conclusion it could not furnish ground for interference.
Court cannot substitute its opinion for the opinion of committee. It could
quash the order only if it finds that it was based on no material or the
committee ignored some material which is considered could have resulted in a
different conclusion. Since the decision of the examination committee does not
suffer from any such error it is difficult to grant relief to petitioners.
not oblivious of grave injustice which might be done to some of the students,
may be even majority, because of refusal by this Court to interfere but we
cannot ignore the deterioration in the standard of discipline of academic
institutions. How this should be regulated or controlled should best be left to
the discretion of those who are entrusted with this responsibility. If this
Court starts substituting its own opinion in place of opinion expressed by
authorities it shall result in chaos. It is well known that due to conduct of
others even innocent persons suffer but the sufferings of few has to be
tolerated in the larger interest of the society. As is usual in such matters it
is only the few who are responsible but to protect the bona fide or the genuine
if a decision is given which erodes the discipline and vitiated the atmosphere
of the academic institutions then it is better to restrain and refuse.
regards demands for enquiry and violation of principle of natural justice,
suffice it to say, that on academic disciplinary proceedings exception is made
where proceedings are substantially fair or it is impossible to hold inquiry.
Cases of mass copying resulting in cancellation of the examination fall in this
exception. By its very nature no inquiry could have been made. Decision in Km. Madhulika
Mathurs case (1984 All LJ 618) (FB) has absolutely no relevance. Concept of
reasonable opportunity assumes primacy where penal action is proposed to
individual. Direction to hold re-examination cannot be put in that category. It
was not like of what happened in Gorakhpur University where examination was not treated
as ineffective or vitiated. Ratio of that decision is that what was invalid
could not be treated as valid for punishment without affording opportunity.
to the case on hand, as noted earlier, the High Court has quashed the
notification issued by the Board as ultra vires of Article 14 of the
Constitution and ultra vires the Act. Further the High Court has discussed at
length how the Board should proceed in the matter and has issued directions
regarding the principles to be followed and matters to be borne in mind by the
Board while framing Rules and has even issued directions what some of the
provisions of the Rules should be. From the discussions in the impugned
judgment it is clear that the High Court has taken up on itself the task of
finding out a scheme to tackle the problem of mass malpractice in examination.
In our considered view the approach of the High Court in the matter is erroneous
and this has vitiated the judgment. In matters concerning campus discipline of
educational institutions and conduct of examinations the duty is primarily
vested in the authorities in-charge of the institutions. In such matters Court
should not try to substitute its own views in place of the concerned
authorities nor thrust its views on them. That is not to say that the Court
cannot at all interfere with the decisions of the authorities in such matters.
The Court has undoubtedly the power to intervene to correct any error in
complying with the provisions of the Rules, Regulations or Notifications and to
remedy any manifest injustice being perpetrated on the candidates. In judging
the validity a notification containing provisions regarding steps to be taken
when a report of mass- malpractice is received it is to be kept in mind whether
the provisions contained in the notification are relevant for achieving the
purpose for which the notification is issued and if it is found that the
notification is relevant for and has a nexus with the purpose to be achieved
then the notification cannot be said to be arbitrary and discriminatory. The
High Court has failed to keep this principle in view while considering the
validity of the notification in question. A notification cannot be struck down
as discriminatory merely because in implementing the same injustice is likely
to be suffered by some candidates. The impugned judgment does not show that the
decision to strike down the two notifications is based on grounds sound in law
and justified on facts. It is our considered view that the judgment of the High
Court is unsustainable and has to be quashed.
parting with the case we would like to place it on record that by the
notification No.13 B of 1995 dated 23.11.1995 of the Jammu and Kashmir State
Board of School Education, Jammu, a new set of regulations for prevention of
unfair means/misconduct in examination of the Board were framed. It is stated
in the notification, inter alia, that these regulations have superseded the
earlier regulation Nos. 50 to 66 of J&K Board of Secondary Education
Regulations, 1967 and any other regulations made thereto and have come into
force from the date notified by the Board.
impugned judgment in this case was not based on consideration of the notified
regulations in 1995. Further, the incidents giving rise to the controversy
raised in the case took place much before the said regulations were framed.
Therefore, it is not necessary for decision of the case to consider the provisions
of the said regulations.
the appeals are allowed. The impugned judgment is set aside. It is however,
made clear that any action already taken by the authorities in pursuance of the
impugned judgment concerning any candidate or group of candidates shall not be
disturbed on the basis of this judgment. There will, however, be no order as to