If an error committed by any authority is timely rectified by it, then no irregularity or illegality can be attributed to it

Orissa High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Dr B.R. Sarangi, J., dismissed a writ petition filed against the notification which had been issued in partial modification of a previous notification and a subsequent order passed by the Vice Chancellor of the University where the petitioner was studying. The petitioner was declared failed after the results were revised, whereas initially she was declared as 2nd Class passed.

The main issue that arose before the Court was whether the respondents had violated principles of natural justice while passing the impugned notification and the impugned order.

The Court observed that the petitioner was a regular student of the concerned University and it is undisputed that in the general examination held, she was initially declared pass in 2nd Division and she was also provided provisional pass certificate and mark sheet. Thereafter, the respondent authorities had revised the results and declared the petitioner as failed; vide impugned notification and the impugned order. The Court observed that if an authority has committed a mistake then it has every right to rectify the same and as per the evidence placed on record by respondents, it is crystal clear that there was a totaling error in case of petitioner and as soon as the error was detected it was rectified vide the impugned order. The Court then referred to the Supreme Court judgment of Raj Kumar Soni v. State of U.P., (2007) 10 SCC 635, wherein it was held that it is not always necessary for the Court to strike down an order merely because the order has been passed in breach of the principles of natural justice. The Court can refuse to exercise its discretion if striking down such an order will result in restoration of another order passed in violation of the principles of natural justice or otherwise not in accordance with law.

The Court held that following the decision of the Supreme Court, if an error was committed by the authority and the same was also rectified by it, then it cannot be said that any illegality or irregularity was committed by the respondents so as to call for interference of the Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. Resultantly, the writ petition was dismissed. [Sujata Patra v. Utkal University,2018 SCC OnLine Ori 418, decided on 20-11-2018]

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