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Chairman, J&K State Board of Education Versus Feyaz Ahmed Malik & Ors.

2000 (1) TMI 1015 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

C.A. No. 2291 of 1995 with C.A. Nos. 2292 to 2296 of 1995 - Dated:- 28-1-2000 - M. Jagannadha Rao And D.P. Mohapatra, JJ. JUDGMENT D.P. Mohapatra, J. 1. Feeling concerned about the menace of mass copying in the 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 .....

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en vitiated on account of mass copying by examinees or outside interference or any other reason which deprives examination/s of its sanctity. 66(b) 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 copyi .....

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cation of the above information (Clause 66-b) received by the Chairman and his final order thereon. Provided 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 centers. Provided also but subject to the foregoing proviso, the examinees of any such centers shall be allowed to appear in the s .....

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sanctity of the examination. Being aggrieved by the said order of the Chairman some candidates who had appeared in the examination at the centers in question filed writ petition in the High Court of Jammu and 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 exa .....

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ose. 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 .....

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the case, parties are left to bear their own costs. 3. The said judgment is under challenge in these appeals. 4. From the impugned judgment it appears that the High Court considering the case of both the parties, formulated eight questions: 1. Does the Notification dated January 27, 1993 suffer from being violative of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution ? 2. Does the Notification arm the Board with powers which are arbitrary in nature ? 3. Does the Notification provide for a different agency a .....

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iated, if so to what extent ? Consequently is the notification dated June 29, 1993 bad in law? 8. What are the findings of the Court ? 5. 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: Having discussed the Notification dated 27-1-1993 in all its pros and cons we found the same to be ultra vires of the Article 14 of Constitution of India and the Act, to the extent in .....

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id down the power which is arbitrary in nature; (c) 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 center copying was resorted to: (d) Clause (V) of the Definition Chapter of the notification fro .....

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ation 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 Magi .....

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ved from the flying squad or other agencies that there was large scale copying in the examinations at the center. 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 fac .....

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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. 9. Under 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 re .....

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ady and one male officer, from among Principals, Headmasters and Headmistresses of teaching institutions of the State. 10. From 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. 11. Under Section 10 of the Act are enumerated the powers and functions of the Board. Some of the provisions of the section are noted below: (ii) to conduct public examinations for persons who have pursued the secondary schoo .....

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ns for carrying out its purposes; (xxi) 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 consider necessary; (xxv) to 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; (xxix .....

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ems necessary and shall thereafter, report the action taken to the Board as its next meeting. 13. Section 24 which makes provision for appointment and Constitution of committees of the Board provides that the Board shall appoint a Committee for Examinations. 14. In Section 25 some of the powers and functions of the Committees which are enumerated in Clause (c) are (iv) to consider and decide the cases relating to misconduct and use of unfair means in the examination conducted by the Board; (xiii .....

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e Board and its committees; (f) the conditions under which the candidates shall be admitted to the examinations of the Board and shall be eligible for diplomas and certificates; (j) the conduct of examinations; (s) all matters which by this Act are to be or may be prescribed or provided by regulations. 16. On a 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 educ .....

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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 center 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 .....

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se 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 Co .....

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ssful 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 university's ap .....

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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 .....

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t conclusion. Since the decision of the examination committee does not suffer from any such error it is difficult to grant relief to petitioners. We are 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 entruste .....

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of the academic institutions then it is better to restrain and refuse. As 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 Mathur's case 1984 Al .....

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gh 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 t .....

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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 mal .....

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