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Sahiti and Ors. Versus The Chancellor, Dr. N.T.R. University of Health Sciences and Ors.

2008 (10) TMI 691 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Civil Appeal No. 6202 of 2008 (Arising out of SLP(C) No. 13424 of 2007) and Civil Appeal Nos. 6203, 6204, 6206-6211 and 6212 of 2008 (Arising out of SLP(C) Nos. 13525, 14281, 18798-18803 and 21051/2007) - Dated:- 22-10-2008 - K.G. Balakrishnan, C.J., P. Sathasivam And J.M. Panchal, JJ. JUDGMENT J.M. Panchal, J. 1. Leave granted in all the special leave petitions. 2. The instant appeals are directed against judgment dated July 20, 2007 rendered by the Division Bench of High Court of Judicature of .....

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e decision of the Executive Council to cancel the result of re-verification of answer scripts and asking 294 students, who were declared passed on re-verification of answer scripts to reappear in examination of first year MBBS, is upheld. 3. The appellants, who are students, joined first year MBBS course for the academic year 2006-07 in different private medical colleges which are affiliated to the University, Vijaywada. They appeared in the first year M.B.B.S. examination held from September 5, .....

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onal identification was meant to enable the students to apply for re-totalling of their answer scripts. Out of the 992 students who had failed, 436 students applied for re-totalling of their respective answer scripts. When the process of re-totalling was going on, some representations were addressed to His Excellency, the Governor, who is Chancellor of the university, and the Hon'ble Minister for Medical and Health as well the Vice- Chancellor of the university on behalf of the students in t .....

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ice-Chancellor, after listening to their grievances, assured that he would verify the answer books and if necessary, get them re-examined. Having regard to the nature of complaints received, the Vice-Chancellor constituted a committee of three expert professors on January 3, 2007 for re-verification/re-valuation/re-examination of answer scripts. The Committee undertook re-verification of the answer scripts and recorded marks on printed slips of papers which were stapled at the top of answer scri .....

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dered by Executive Council and the Council had approved the action taken by the Vice-Chancellor. The revised results were sent to the Principals of medical colleges. Subsequent to the declaration of the results, after re-valuation His Excellency, the Governor of the State, as well as the Minister for Medical, Health and Family Welfare and Vice-Chancellor of the University received communications and complaints stating that irregularities were committed in the process of re-verification. Because .....

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mittee to go into the circumstances under which re-verification of answer sheets was undertaken and find out whether any irregularities had taken place. The Executive Council further resolved to withhold declaration of the revised results of First Year M.B.B.S. course till the enquiry report was submitted and give intimation of the same to the Principals of medical colleges concerned. Accordingly, by letter dated February 2, 2007 the Principals of medical colleges were informed not to give effec .....

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by the Registrar to the Government to constitute a high level committee to examine the whole issue was not acceded to but the Government referred the matter to the Law Department and Medical Department of the State. The Medical Department did not agree with the action of the Vice-Chancellor. Ultimately the Chief Secretary sought the opinion of the learned Advocate General of the State in the matter who, by his letter dated 29-03-07, opined that the decision of Vice-Chancellor permitting revaluat .....

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or referring the matter to Government for the purpose of enquiring into the whole issue and, therefore, the very reference/request made by the University asking the Government to probe into the matter was not in accordance with the proviso to Section 12(3) of the N.T.R. University of Health Sciences Act 1986 ('the Act' for short). In view of the opinion of the learned Advocate General, the meeting of the Executive Council was convened on April 2, 2007. The Vice-Chancellor informed other .....

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had failed in September/October 2006 examination to reappear in the examination which was scheduled to take place on April 25, 2007. 4. The students and their parents were of the opinion that the Executive Council was not justified in cancelling the whole process of re-valuation, which was undertaken pursuant to the order of the Vice-Chancellor nor the Executive Council was justified in asking the students to re-appear in first year MBBS examination, which was scheduled to be held on April 25, .....

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xecutive Council was not justified in cancelling the whole process undertaken for re-verification at the behest of the Vice-Chancellor. In view of above mentioned findings, the learned single Judge allowed the writ petitions filed by the students vide judgment dated May 1,2007. 6. Feeling aggrieved, the Registrar of the University filed Writ Appeal No. 402 of 2007 and other cognate appeals. The Division Bench of the High Court took the view that the Vice-Chancellor of the University had no juris .....

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s. 7. This Court has heard the learned Counsel for the parties at length and in great detail. This Court has also taken into consideration the documents forming part of the appeals. From the "record of the case it is evident that in all, 4076 students had appeared in first year MBBS examination, which was held between September 5, 2006 and October 10, 2006. The results of the examination were declared on December 2, 2006 and 992 students were declared failed in different papers. Out of 992 .....

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nswer scripts. On January 3, 2007 the Vice-Chancellor constituted a committee of three professors for re-verification of answer scripts. The Committee undertook re-verification and recorded marks on the printed slips of papers stapled at the top of the answer scripts. On the basis of the re-verification undertaken by the Committee constituted by the Vice-Chancellor, the University declared revised results on February 2, 2007 by which 294 students out of 436 students, who had applied for re-total .....

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had ordered re-verification under pressure and coercion from the students and their parents. Having regard to the facts of the case, the Executive Council did not approve the action of the Vice-Chancellor directing re-verification of the answer scripts and cancelled the whole process of re-verification. The Executive Council was further of the opinion that opportunity should be given to the failed students to re-appear in examination and, therefore, it directed the students, who had failed, to .....

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affairs of the University and give effect to the decisions of all the authorities of the University. Sub-section (3) of Section 12 provides that the Vice-Chancellor may, if he is of opinion that immediate action is necessary on any matter, exercise any power conferred on any authority of the University by or under the Act and shall report to such authority the action taken by him on such matter. The proviso to Sub-section (3) stipulates that if the authority concerned is of opinion that such ac .....

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officer of the University. He is entrusted with the responsibility of overall administration of academic as well as non-academic affairs. For these purposes, the Act confers both express and implied powers on the Vice-Chancellor. Section 30 of the Act confers power on the Executive Council to make statutes. In exercise of that power, the Executive Council has framed the Statutes of University. Clause 1 of the Statutes deals with the status of the Vice-Chancellor and his powers and duties. Sub-c .....

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wer which is required to be exercised, in order to see that the provisions of the Act, the Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations are duly observed, is vested in the Vice-Chancellor. The Vice-Chancellor has right to regulate the work and conduct of officers and other employees of the University. He has also emergency powers to deal with any untoward situation. The power conferred under Section 12(2) and 12(3) is indeed significant. If the Vice-Chancellor ' believes that a situation calls for i .....

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in the academic and non-academic affairs. In a wide variety of situations in the relationship of tutor and pupil he has to act firmly and promptly to put down indiscipline and malpractice. As per the Statutes of university, the Vice-Chancellor is whole-time Officer of the university and by virtue of his office, is a Member and Chairman of the Executive Council and of the Academic Council. He has power to convene meetings of the Executive Council and the Academic Council. The plea that there is a .....

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or ordinance and in doing so, the Court should show due regard to the opinion expressed by the authority. In Board of Secondary Education v. Pravas Ranjan Panda and Anr. (2004) 13 SCC 383, the respondent No. 1, i.e., Pravas Ranjan Panda appeared in the High School Certificate Examination, 2003 as a regular candidate. He passed the said examination securing about 90% marks. He filed a Writ Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution alleging that he had answered all the questions correctly wi .....

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wer scripts of examinees securing 90% and above marks in aggregate in HSC Examination 2003 and if there was any change or variation in the marks the petitioner should be informed accordingly. The candidates secured less than 90% of marks in aggregate who had applied for rechecking. and re addition of marks in certain answer papers had to be considered in accordance with the resolution of Board for rechecking of marks. A review petition was subsequently filed by the Board wherein it was submitted .....

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High Court, though observed that the writ petitioner who had taken the examination was hardly a competent person to assess his own merit and on that basis claim re-evaluation of papers, but issued the aforesaid direction in order to eliminate the possibility of injustice on account of marginal variation in the marks. It was admitted before the Supreme Court that the regulation of the Board of Secondary education, Orissa did not make any provision of re-evaluation of answer books of the students. .....

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the answer books would throw many problems and in the larger public interest such a direction must be avoided. Therefore, the Supreme Court expressed the opinion that the order of the High Court directing re-evaluation of the answer books of all the examinees securing 90% or above marks was clearly unsustainable in law and set aside the same. The above decision deals with the right of the student or candidate to claim re-examination/re-evaluation of his answer sheet and the power of the High Co .....

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not fair or that the examiner was not careful in evaluating the answer scripts re-evaluation may be found necessary. There may be several instances wherein re-evaluation of the answer scripts may be required to be ordered and this Court need not make an exhaustive catalogue of the same. However, if the authorities are of the opinion that re-evaluation of the answer scripts is necessary then the Court would be slow to substitute its own views for that of those who are expert in academic matters. .....

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ercised power to order re-verification of answer scripts under pressure and coercion from the students and their parents and not independently on merits. As noticed earlier, 436 students had merely demanded re-totalling of marks. If the Vice-Chancellor was of the opinion that revaluation of answer scripts was necessary, he should have directed revaluation of answer scripts of all 992 students who had failed and revaluation of answer scripts could not have been confined only to 436 students who h .....

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any indication of methodology adopted by the Committee for re-valuation. Moreover, the Members of the Committee appointed by the Vice-Chancellor for re-valuation of answer scripts had undertaken re-verification of 1082 answer scripts and completed re-verification in two days which itself indicates that the said re-valuation was not properly done and no credence could be given to the same. It is worth noticing that the decision of the Executive Council to cancel the result of the students on the .....

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