Delhi High Court: In a case wherein a petition was filed seeking directions to the respondents to release/pay third installment of the petitioner’s scholarship under INSPIRE Scheme and for payment of compensation and damages for mental harassment and loss of career of the petitioner, a Single Judge Bench of Prathiba M. Singh, J. noted that the petitioner being from an economically backward section had to discontinue studies after B.Sc. due to non-award of the scholarship and therefore directed the respondent to release Rs. 60,000 along with simple interest of 6%. The Court further awarded Rs. 50,000 as costs to the petitioner which were to be paid by the respondents.
The petitioner passed his 10+2 examinations in 2015 from the Madhya Pradesh Board and scored 92.6% in his Board examinations and thus, was given a certificate by the Madhya Pradesh Secondary Examination Board as being eligible for the scholarship for higher education under the INSPIRE Scheme. Thereafter, he took admission in B.Sc. (Hons.) Mathematics in Ramjas College, Delhi University.
The respondent, Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology offered him the INSPIRE Scholarship in 2017 and the conditions of the INSPIRE Scholarship were governed as per the Post Offer Implementation Guidelines for Scholars. As per these guidelines, to initially become eligible, the student ought to be in the top 1% of his respective Board, in Class 12. Thereafter, the performance of the first year would determine the continuation of scholarship in the second year and the performance in the second year would determine the release of scholarship for the third year. The eligibility would be that the candidate had to score aggregate of 60% or 6.00 CGPA.
In the present case, the petitioner was disbursed the Scholarship amount for the first and the second year. However, for the third year, the scholarship was withheld on the ground that he did not score 6.0 CGPA in the second year.
Submissions on behalf of the Petitioner
The petitioner submitted that he secured more than 6.0 CGPA in the second year and thus, he could not be deprived of the scholarship for the third year. It was further submitted that the petitioner applied to the respondent through mail in 2018 seeking disbursement of the scholarship, but the respondent stated that the petitioner’s marks were below 6 CGPA. Counsel for the petitioner relied on the Post Offer Implementation Guidelines for Scholars and the INSPIRE Scheme and thus, submitted that a cumulative of 6.0 CGPA was required for the scholarship.
Submissions on behalf of the Respondent
Counsel for the respondent submitted that the petitioner’s CGPA should be 6.0 in the core subjects.
Analysis, Law, and Decision
The Court noted that the petitioner’s transcripts showed that his CGPA for the first and second semesters was 7.45 and for the third and four semesters was 6.32. Thus, in the first year, the petitioner scored 7.45 CGPA and in the second year, he scored 6.32 CGPA. Therefore, the Court opined that the stand of the respondent that the Petitioner did not score 6 CGPA was incorrect.
The Court further noted that as per Clause 5 of the Post Offer Implementation Guidelines for Scholars, the requirement of 6.0 CGPA was in the aggregate and not in the core subjects and there was no mention in the Post Offer Implementation Guidelines for Scholars or in the INSPIRE Scheme that 6.0 CGPA was being required in the core subjects. Therefore, the Court held that the rejection/non-grant of scholarship to the petitioner was completely unjustified.
The Court opined that “the petitioner was from an economically weaker section and had to discontinue studies after B.Sc. due to non-award of the scholarship and due to his CGPA he was fully qualified to obtain admission into the M.Sc. (Mathematics) which he could not pursue due to rejection/ non-continuation of scholarship”.
The Court after considering the annual scholarship of the petitioner which was Rs. 60,000, directed the respondents to release Rs. 60,000 along with simple interest of 6%. The Court further awarded costs of Rs. 50,000 to the petitioner which was to be paid by the respondent.
[Vikash Shukla v. Ministry of Science and Technology, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 1016, decided on 23-2-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the Petitioner: Advocate Sunil Kumar Singh;
Advocate Mukti Singh;
For the Respondent: CGSC Bhagvan Swarup Shukla;
*Judgment authored by: Justice Prathiba M. Singh.