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Report No. 123

2.14. While numerous cases landed in the court questioning the grant or refusal of admission to Medical and Engineering Colleges, a law illustrative cases are referred to here to show the inordinate delay in disposal of cases resulting sometimes in getting unjust enrichment by a non-deserving person. Without dilating upon the topic itself which has been discussed herein, the first case to which attention must be drawn involving gross delay in disposal is the one in which one Vishan Kumar Agarwal applied for admission for the degree of M.D. (Physiology) in October, 1974 and his result was not declared on the ground that he was ineligible for admission.

In October, 1983 he finally got his result declared and got the degree and in this period of nine years, he was without a degree which he had earned and having not been awarded, he could not get the benefit out of it.1 Some students claiming to be eligible for admission to Post-Graduate Course in Kashmir University in July 1980 were told in August 1984 that they are not eligible.2 In 1981, some students applied for admission to Post-Graduate Medical Course and having failed to obtain the admission moved the High Court and obtained interim relief for provisional admission. When the petitions finally came-up for hearing in Supreme Court in 1985, the court declined to interfere with the question of legality of their admission on the only ground that they had already completed the study during the interregnum.

The court accordingly directed that the provisional admission of such of these petitioners who had obtained interim relief by way of provisional admission should be regarded as an admission of final validity entitling them to consequential benefits including appearing at the examination for obtaining degree.3 The last in the line is the case in which the court reached the affirmative conclusion that the petitioners were not eligible for admission but as they were admitted under the interim order's of the court, the court observed that because of the fault of the Principal of the Engineering College, these petitioners who were otherwise ineligible should not suffer and allowed the petitioners to continue their studies in the respective Engineering Colleges in which they were granted admission. Admission was sought in the academic year 1981-82 and the matter was finally disposed of in May 1986.4 The cases briefly referred to above are merely illustrative and not exhaustive.

1. The Principal, King George Medical College, Lucknow v. Vishan Kumar, AIR 1984 SC 221.

2. Dr. Muneeb Ul Rehman Haroon v. Government of Jammu & Kashmir State, AIR 1984 SC 1585.

3. Hadibandhu Rautarao v. State of Orissa, (1985) 4 SCC 47.

4. Rajendra Prasad Mathur v. Karnataka University, AIR 1986 SC 1448.

2.15. Indian Council of Agricultural Research is a Society registered under the Societies Registration Act. It is comprehended in the expression 'State' as used in Article 12 of the Constitution. Its two subsidiaries, viz., Indian Agricultural Research Institute and Indian Veterinary Research Institute, enjoy the status of deemed, university. There were numerous skeletons in its cupboards exposed by the suicide of Dr. V.H. Shah leading to the appointment of a Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Justice P.B. Gajendragadkar to investigate in its affairs. Things appear not to have improved very much thereafter, even though it made extensive recommendations including restructuring of it.

Numerous complaints were voiced by the members of the faculty of ICAR and its affiliate-Indian Veterinary Research Institute. The dispute dragged on for a number of years commencing from 1972. Absolutely frivolous objections raised by ICAR contributed to the delay in disposal of the case. Ultimately it was found that the stand taken by ICAR was unjust and unfair and relief was granted in the year 1983.1 Highly talented agricultural scientists were made to suffer injustice and languish in rancour for a period of over a decade Agriculture, being of primary importance in the national economy, such a deplorable State of Affairs arising out of an absence of machinery for speedy resolution of disputes is likely to cause national loss.

1. Dr. Y.P. Gupta v. Union of India, AIR 1984 SC 541.

2.16. Very recently, the country suffered a prolonged strike by university teachers and teachers of colleges affiliated to universities. The dispute related to the revised scales offered to them. The strike listed for more than two months. It was undertaken at the commencement of the academic year. Is it not necessary to devise a forum for resolution of disputes which must be resorted to before direct action is undertaken?

2.17. The direction in which wind is blowing can be ascertained by reference to section 9(1) of the Telugu Universities Act, 1985 (Act 27 of 1985) which provides that Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh shall be the Chancellor of the University. Power is conferred on the Chancellor to appoint a Vice-Chancellor from out of panel to be drawn up by a committee comprising (i) a nominee of the Chancellor; (ii) a nominee of the Government (headed by the Chief Minister); and (iii) a nominee of the syndicate. Indisputably Chief Minister will decide who should be Vice-Chancellor.

2.18. The University, though is expected to be an autonomous body, in the absence of financial autonomy, merely enjoys paper autonomy. An incident occurred in one State where the grant of a university was not released even though the condition precedent for the same, namely, raising of the examination fees, was fully satisfied. It is reported that the Vice-Chancellor had to threaten to take the matter to the court. This raises the vital issue of State control over universities.

2.19. Disciplinary jurisdiction over the students and the members of the faculty of the university and the affiliated colleges is another area where numerous disputes arise. In one case in Gujarat, when an invigilator caught an examinee resorting to unfair practice and made him leave the examination hall, the next day he appeared with a stay order of the court restraining the authorities of the examination centre from preventing him in appearing at the examination.

2.20. A Vice-Chancellor, who, of course, has relinquished the post of a leading university in the Capital, in an off the record chat, related an incident which is worth recalling. He said that he has taken disciplinary action against a member of the faculty, who has rushed to the court and obtained an injunction. The matter, according to him, is now being delayed deliberately so that the delinquent officer would await the expiry of the term of the Vice-Chancellor and then seek for an unfair compromise. His agony was against such stay orders.

2.21. The Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University has given information to the Commission about the writ petition filed by Mohd. Abbas Zamir who, though according to the Vice-Chancellor, was not eligible to appear in the examination, was allowed by an interim order to appear at the examination. According to the university, Mohd. Abbas Zamir was expelled from the University on 5th January, 1981, for a period of four years for indulging in acts of indiscipline, creating lawlessness and assaulting teachers in gross violation of the rules and regulations of the university'. Thereafter, he filed numerous petitions and ultimately succeeded in appearing at the examination.1

1. Sarvesh Narain Mishra v. Vice-Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University, 1982 (2) SCC 363, and an Order dated July 27, 1987.

2.22. Numerous cases of mismanagement of collegiate institutions by management bodies surface frequently. The statute setting up universities provides for conferment of a supervisory jurisdiction on the universities over such affiliated institutions. Amongst others, the power to constitute and reconstitute governing body on the proof of mismanagement is conferred on the university. Bihar University directed the re-constitution of the governing body of the Rajendra Prasad College, Chapra. This was challenged. The Supreme Court, while setting aside the order of the University, expressed an opinion that autonomous bodies which set up colleges and thereby help the progress of higher education are generally run by disinterested persons and it is of some importance that the autonomy of such bodies should not be unduly impaired.

It was conceded that the university, while granting affiliation, may impose conditions which will enable university to exercise powers of supervision, yet when a dispute arises, the university should respect the autonomy of the colleges and reconcile the same with the supervisory powers of the university which are intended to be, exercised in order to make the functioning of the affiliated colleges efficient and progressive1 But when it came to interference by the university in the established mismanagement of minority institutions, the court, while conceding that the right to manage minority institution does not inhere the right to mismanage, yet was loathe to interfere.

The regulatory measures framed by the university for the purpose of regulating the appointment and domicile of teachers in minority institutions were held to interfere with the autonomy of minority institution.2 The hands off attitude of the court went to such length that the teachers and employees of the minority institutions were denied equality in the matter of remuneration with their counterparts in educational institutions similarly situated. Recently the court lifted the veil of the minority institutions and extended such basic benefits to its employees, directing that they cannot be discriminated against and the principle of equal pay for equal work will equally apply to them.3

1. Bishweshwar Dayal Sinha v. University of Bihar, AIR 1965 SC 601.

2. St. Xavier's College v. State of Gujarat, AIR 1974 SC 1389, followed by All Saints High School v. Government of Andhra Pradesh, AIR 1980 SC 1042.

3. Frank Anthony Public School Employees' Association v. Union of India, 1986 (4) SCC 707.

2.23. The yardstick applied for determining the status of institutions claiming to be minority institutions has not been uniformly applied. Aligarh Muslim University was held not to be a minority institution on the ground that it was brought into existence by a Parliamentary Statute.1 On the other hand, educational institutions set up by followers of Arya Samaj in Punjab were treated as such.2

1. Aziz Basha v. Union of India, AIR 1968 SC 662.

2. D.A.V. College, Jallandhar v. State of Punjab, AIR 1971 SC 1737.

2.24. A Vice-Chancellor, in the hope of getting an assignment for six years, though the statute prescribed tenure of three years, resigned from the State Assembly and was appointed as Vice-Chancellor of Maharshi Dayanand University at Rohtak. As the renewal of the term was not forthcoming, he approached the court for a mandamus calling upon the university to renew his term. In the meantime, the State Government issued an Ordinance fixing the age of Vice-Chancellor at sixty-five years. He also challenged the validity of the Ordinance. The court directed the Chancellor to renew the term basing its finding on the doctrine of promissory estoppel.1

1. Hardwarilal v. G.D. Tapase, AIR 1982 P&H 439.

2.25. Very recently a dispute arose between the Haryana Government and Vice-Chancellor of Kurukshetra University. The Vice-Chancellor wanted to proceed on medical leave on full pay and reimbursement of medical expenses. The same was rejected by the Chancellor who is none other than the Governor of the State. Has the Vice-Chancellor any forum where he can get relief?1

1. Times of India, Dec. 15, 1987, p. 15.

2.26. It thus becomes manifestly clear that numerous different types of disputes in the field of education land in the court and remain unattended for a long time causing dislocation in the teaching schedules and occasionally generate a disturbed environment in the halls of education. The conclusion, however, is inescapable that the disputes arising in the field of education are numerous. They are not resolved in time. The delay causes distress and hardship to many. The system suffers. And, as pointed out earlier, there is national loss. The case, therefore, for speedy disposal of educational disputes does not need any more justification.

Decentralisation of Administration of Justice - Disputes Involving Centres of Higher Education Back

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