Student not to be deprived of fruits of labour because of unavoidable medical concerns; order granting gold medal upheld: Delhi HC

Delhi High Court: The Division Bench comprising of Hima Kohli and Rekha Palli, JJ., maintained the decision of a Single Judge in which it was decided “to award a Gold Medal to the respondent for his remarkable academic performance”, which was being denied by the appellant, i.e. Guru Gobin Singh Indraprastha University.

In the present case, the factual matrix of the case places the situation as the one in which Respondent 1, a student of Amity Law School affiliated with Guru Gobind Singh University was being denied from being awarded Gold Medal despite his obtaining the highest CPI. The basis on which the respondent was being denied Gold Medal was due to him falling sick during his 6th semester examinations. Respondent 1 had contracted chicken pox and therefore was advised not have physical contact with other people along with rest, due to which he was unable to appear for 2 examinations out 6. Respondent 1 had appeared for these 2 examinations in the year 2014 instead of 2013 along with his 8th semester examinations.

The learned Single Judge Bench had relied on the decision of  Supreme Court in Abhijit v. Government Medical College Aurangabad; 1981 SCC OnLine All 601 along with Rajasthan High Court’s Sovila Mathur v. Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati University [MANU/RH/1631/2015]  and Punjab and Haryana High Court’s Rubinder Brar v. Punjab University, CITATION; for holding that the term “first attempt” has to be considered in light of the facts of each case and the respondent’s non-appearance in the said examination because of illness would not be a ground to impose a penalty on him or to hold that he had failed. Further, the decision of the Court was that the appellant/University should award a second gold medal to Respondent 1 and this lead to the filing of the present appeal.

The prime contention against the appellant was that the appellant/University has misconceived the term “first attempt” as the university has chosen to interpret it as including a situation where a student was compelled not to appear in an examination due to serious illness.

The High Court while analysing the various decisions of the Courts as relied on by the parties and the facts of the present case, concluded that the term “first attempt” unless defined specifically in the Regulations/Ordinance, has to necessarily take colour from the context in which it is used. Therefore, the Court stated that “Respondent 1 having been prevented due to unavoidable medical concerns ought not to be penalized or deprived of the fruits of his labour and well-deserved merit.”

No merit was found in the present appeal along with no infirmity in the impugned order. [Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University v. Abhinav Pandey,2018 SCC OnLine Del 11915, decided on 16-10-2018]

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