Read why Allahabad HC directed UGC to circulate its guidelines on reform programmes dealing with student misconduct, to all Universities

Allahabad High Court

Allahabad High Court: In a writ petition filed by a student at Banaras Hindu University (‘BHU’), assailing an order of suspension passed by the Registrar of BHU, the Single Bench of Ajay Bhanot, J., while setting aside the impugned orders passed by the Registrar, BHU and Deputy Registrar, BHU, held that the suspension order violated principles of natural justice and was disproportionately severe. Allowing the writ petition, the Court further passed the following directions:

  • The petitioner was permitted to continue as a regular student in the University.

  • The University was commanded to devise a reform programme for students accused of misconduct considering the judgements in Anant Narayan Mishra v. Union of India 2019 SCC OnLine All 4667, Mohammad Ghayas v. State of U.P. 2019 SCC OnLine All 4774 and Piyush Yadav v. Union of India 2019 SCC OnLine All 5824 ,and the UGC guidelines dated 12-04-2023.

  • The University was directed to incorporate the said reform programme in the first statutes of the BHU within 6 months. The University thereafter implement and monitor the reform programme.

  • The petitioner was directed undergo the reform program as devised by the University.

Directions to the University Grants Commision (‘UGC’):

I. UGC was directed to circulate the guidelines dated 12-04-2023 to all Universities within the jurisdiction of UGC.

II. UGC was directed tocreate a system for monitoring the implementation of the guidelines dated 12-04-2023 by various Universities as per law.

III. UGC was asked to hold regular workshops and seminars to create a library of collective experiences of various Universities in these matters, as it will enable Universities to gain from shared experiences and upgrade their programmes.

Directions to Union of India

I. The Government of India was directed to facilitate the implementation of UGC guidelines dated 12-04-2023 in Central Universities as per law and in conjunction with UGC.


The petitioner, a student enrolled at BHU, faced a six-month suspension from University privileges and was prohibited from participating in semester examinations following an incident of disturbance at the BHU hostel. The suspension order, issued on 21-10-2022, cited the petitioner’s alleged involvement in a commotion involving a group of students at the hostel premises, followed by a subsequent gathering late at night. Despite the petitioner’s plea for the revocation of the suspension, the Deputy Registrar (Academic) of BHU upheld the penalty in an order dated 14-11-2022.

Analysis and Decision

Upon considering the arguments of the petitioner, the Court invoked established legal principles, citing previous judgments such as Anant Narayan Mishra (supra), Mohammad Ghayas (supra) and Piyush Yadav (supra), as these judgments highlighted the necessity of adopting a reformative approach to student discipline, in line with constitutional principles of justice and fairness. The Court further reminded BHU and other stakeholders, including the UGC and the UoI, of their obligation to adhere to these precedents and incorporate reform programs into University statutes.

The Court further examined the suspension orders and identified several shortcomings. The Court criticized BHU’s failure to afford the petitioner a fair hearing before imposing the penalty, thereby violating principles of natural justice. Additionally, the Court found the punishment disproportionate to the alleged misconduct, highlighting the absence of aggravating circumstances to justify such severe disciplinary action. The Court further observed that the lack of specific details regarding the petitioner’s role in the incident further undermined the validity of the suspension orders.

UGC Guidelines and Reform Programs

Central to the Court’s analysis were the UGC guidelines issued on 12-04-2023, which advocated for a holistic approach to student discipline, emphasizing the importance of personality development and moral reinforcement. These guidelines sought to integrate reformative measures into University disciplinary structures, promoting a balance between institutional discipline and opportunities for student reform. The Court emphasized the need for BHU to align its disciplinary policies with the objectives outlined in these guidelines and directed the University to devise a comprehensive reform program.

The Court, therefore, invalidated the suspension orders against the petitioner and instructed BHU to develop a reform program in accordance with previous Court judgments and UGC guidelines. The Court further mandated BHU to incorporate this program into its statutes within six months, with UGC tasked with ensuring the dissemination and implementation of these guidelines across all Universities within its jurisdiction.

[Vineet Mishra v. Banaras Hindu University, 2023 SCC OnLine All 2972, Order dated 20-12-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case:

Advocates for the Petitioner: Atul Kumar Tiwari, Prakhar Saran Srivastava

Advocates for the Respondent: Hem Pratap Singh, Manoj Kumar Singh, Rijwan Ali Akhtar, Vimlendu Tripathi

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