Gujarat High Court

Gujarat High Court: While hearing an application, wherein the petitioner was penalised and the result of all the examinations of semester VII of B.Com. LL.B. (Hons.) December 2022 was cancelled by Examination Reforms Committee for using unfair means in Taxation Law examination, the Single-Judge Bench of Sangeeta K. Vishen, J., rejected the petitioner’s application to allow him to appear in the examination and held that using unfair means in examination is a misconduct.

In the matter at hand, the petitioner had appeared in the semester VII examination of Law of Taxation and was found with 19 printed materials, as an outcome, the result of all the examinations attended by the petitioner were declared cancelled by the Examinations Reforms Committee.

The Court noted that Section 2 of Rules and Regulations booklet published by Nirma University/respondent is relevant for application to the matter concerned, it provides for academic dishonesty at Examinations/Tests/Assignments and punishment in case of using unfair means, the nature of punitive measures is cancellation of results of all examinations of the concerned courses. It was also noted that the petitioner, while appearing in the end semester examination for Semester VI in the subject of Family Law II was found carrying a mobile devise in the examination hall, which is strictly prohibited under the Academic Regulations. To which, he claimed that inadvertently, the mobile phone remained in his pocket and immediately realising, he tendered the mobile phone to the invigilator. Thus, the Court said that the petitioner’s act of possessing 19 printed materials in the semester end examination of Law of Taxation, wasa second-time misconduct.

The Court also said that the petitioner had lost sight of the fact that possessing the mobile phone itself, is a misconduct for which, the penalty provided, is cancellation of the results of all the examinations as per the rules and regulations of the educational institute.

Therefore, the Court said that petitioner has committed a misconduct, possessing the electronic device irrespective of whether it is used or not used, therefore, Nirma University, had rightly invoked Regulation 5(iv), as the petitioner was found indulging in unfair practices in the examination and the results of all the examinations of the concerned courses were cancelled. Thus, no case, has been made out for any interim protection for allowing the petitioner to appear in the examination.

Placing its reliance on Dr. Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management, Nutrition & Catering Technology v. Vaibhav Singh Chauhan, (2009) 1 SCC 59, wherein the Supreme Court said that in the academic matters, there should be strict discipline, and malpractices should be severely punished and sympathy for students using unfair means is wholly out of place. Further, the High Courts should not ordinarily interfere with the functioning and order of the educational authorities, unless there is clear violation of some statutory rule or legal principle and there must be strict purity in the examinations of educational institutions and no sympathy or leniency should be shown to candidates who resort to unfair means in the examinations. Therefore, the Court interpreted Regulation 3 and suggested that if the student is found possessing any kind of electronic devices, during the examination irrespective of whether it was used or not used, the same was termed to be a misconduct and,thus, one is not to go only by the penalty imposed but the nature of the malpractices committed by the petitioner as well.

Thus, the Court rejected the petitioner’s application to allow him to appear in the examination.

[Karthik Deepak Sharma v. Director General, Nirma University, 2023 SCC OnLine Guj 992, Judgment dated: 28-03-2023]

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