Prashanta Kumar Chakra vs Council Of Higher Secondary … on 10 August, 1988

Orissa High Court
Prashanta Kumar Chakra vs Council Of Higher Secondary … on 10 August, 1988
Equivalent citations: AIR 1989 Ori 179
Author: G Patnaik
Bench: G Patnaik, A Padhi


JUDGMENT

G.B. PATNAIK, J.

1. The petitioner who had appeared at the Annual Higher Secondary Examination of the year 1987 with roll No. 109G109 from Kushaleswar Anchalika Mahavidyaiaya at Kochianandi has filed this application to quash the notification No. 8302 dated 9-10-1987 cancelling the petitioner’s result and debarring him from appearing till Annual Examination of 1988 (three chances) on charges of malpractice. The said notification has been annexed as Annexure-1 to the writ petition. It is alleged in the writ petition that the petitioner had never adopted any unfair means and no incriminating material has been seized from him during the examination. There was no show cause notice received by him from the Council of Higher Secondary Education. Originally the petitioner’s result was withheld and he was asked to appear before the Examination Discipline Committee on 29-7-1987. He appeared before the said Committee being accompanied by his father. In the said interview, a report of the alleged malpractice forwarded in the prescribed form was put to the petitioner which contained the incriminating material signed by one P.K. Ojha and the petitioner denied the same to be his own. Accordingly, the Committee came to the conclusion that the petitioner was innocent and by a notification dated 31-7-1987 bearing notification No. EC-III (MP)-87/6044 exonerated the petitioner. Notwithstanding the said decision of the Discipline Committee, the petitioner’s result was not declared and thereafter the impugned notification was issued cancelling the result of the petitioner. The petitioner asserts that the Council committed gross error in not following the principles of natural justice and no charges having been framed and the Discipline Committee having exonerated the petitioner from the allegation of malpractice, there was no material on the basis of which the petitioner’s result could have been cancelled. The petitioner has also made some allegations of mala fides against the Principal and the Head Clerk of the Mahavidyaiaya as the petitioner was the leader of an agitation when the Principal refused admission to the local students.

2. When this case was listed for admission, on perusing the averments made in the writ application, this Court had issued notice of admission and it was specifically stated in the notice that opposite party should file the show cause and the matter would be disposed of at the admission stage. Pursuant to the said notice, the opposite party has entered appearance and filed a counter-affidavit. The counter-affidavit has been sworn to by the Assistant Controller of Examination. The stand of the opposite party in the counter-affidavit is that one Shri K.C. Kunar had been appointed as the Supervisor to supervise the conduct of Annual Higher Secondary Examination and on 12-3-1987 while the examination in English Paper-II was going on, the said Supervisor detected two pieces of printed Essay writing papers from the answer paper which was in possession of the petitioner and seized the answer paper with the incriminating material. When the petitioner was asked to put his signature and his roll number on the said incriminating material, the petitioner did act accordingly. On the basis of the said seizure, the Invigilator prepared a report of malpractice in Form No. 20. The petitioner while putting the signature on the incriminating material wrote his name as Pradip Kumar Ojha instead of Prashanta Kumar Chakra. He also wrote on the incriminating material his original roll number supplied by the Council and another roll number as 109G107. When this incriminating material was put to the petitioner by the Discipline Committee and the Discipline Committee having found that it was not the signature of the petitioner exonerated the petitioner. But later on when the Council examined the recommendation of the Discipline Committee as well as the incriminating material it was found that from the Centre in question no one was appearing with the name of Pradip Kumar Ojha and since it was further revealed that the petitioner had made the manipulation and had written the name of Pradip Kumar Ojha instead of his own and had appended two roll numbers on the incriminating material, the authorities came to the conclusion that the incriminating “material had been written by the petitioner and nobody else. They took into consideration the report of the Centre Superintendent and the Controller of Examination, placed the report of the Superintendent before the Committee in its meeting and it is the Committee which considered the report and ultimately punished the petitioner cancelling his result and further debarring him from appearing for three chances. According to the counter-affidavit, there are sufficient materials against the petitioner on the basis of which the Examination Committee came to the conclusion that the petitioner had adopted malpractice in the examination and ultimately his result was cancelled.

3. In the premises, as aforesaid, the short question which arises for consideration is whether the Examination Committee acted fairly in coming to the conclusion that the petitioner had been involved in commission of malpractice during the examination in question or not. In other words, whether the requirements of natural justice have been met by the procedure adopted by the Examination Committee in coming to the finding that the petitioner is guilty of malpractice. In the case of Burne v. Kinematograph Renters Society Ltd., (1958) 2 All ER 579, Lord Harman, J. observed : –

“What, then, are the requirements of natural justice in a case of this kind? First, I think that the person accused should know the nature of the accusation made; secondly that he should be given an opportunity to state his case; and thirdly, of course, that the tribunal should act in good faith. I do not think that there really is anything more.”

This has been approved by the Supreme Court in the case of Suresh Koshy George v. University of Kerala. AIR 1969 SC 198, where a misconduct by a student in the examination and the punishment inflicted upon the student for such misconduct was in question before the Supreme Court. Applying the tests laid down in the aforesaid case to the facts of the present case, it must be held that there has been a gross violation of the principles of natural justice. The only time when the petitioner was required to meet the charge was the interview that was held on.29-7-1987. After the interview and on being satisfied, the Committee came to the conclusion that the petitioner was innocent and in fact the Council exonerated the petitioner by notification dated 31-7-1987. Thereafter no further notice has been given to the petitioner and the petitioner did not get an opportunity of meeting any further allegations or material found against him. Obviously, the authorities cannot utilise a material which had not been put to the petitioner. From the averments made in the counter-affidavit, it is crystal clear that the petitioner had not been given notice of the incriminating material which was used by the Council to reverse the decision of the Examination Committee taken earlier and to come to a conclusion that the petitioner adopted unfair means during the examination. In this view of the matter, the impugned order under Annexure-1 cannot be sustained. Accordingly, the notification of the Controller of Examination dated 9th of October, 1987, which has been annexed as Annexure-1 to the writ application is hereby quashed and the opposite party is directed to act in accordance with law.

4. This writ application is accordingly allowed with costs. Hearing fee is assessed at rupees two hundred.

Padhi, J.

5. I agree.

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