Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of BR Gavai* and PS Narasimha, JJ has held that the right to establish an educational institution is a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India and reasonable restrictions on such a right can be imposed only by a law and not by an execution instruction.

What was under challenge?

The ruling came in a case where the Court was called upon to decide whether the moratorium, as imposed by the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), could have been imposed by resolution/communications dated 17.07.2019 and 09.09.2019, which is in the nature of an executive instruction of the Central Council.

Resolution/Communication dated 17.07.2019: A moratorium on the opening of new pharmacy colleges for running Diploma as well as Degree courses in pharmacy for a period of five years beginning from the Academic Year 2020-2021.

Resolution/communication dated 09.09.2019:  

  1. Modified the aforesaid moratorium, thereby exempting its application to

(i) Government Institutions;

(ii) Institutions in North Eastern region; and

(iii) States/Union Territories where the number of institutions offering D. Pharm and B. Pharm courses (both combined) is less than 50.

  1. The institutions which had applied for opening colleges offering D. Pharm and/or B. Pharm courses for 2019-2020 academic session were allowed to apply for conducting diploma as well as degree courses in Academic Session 2020-2021 and existing approved pharmacy institutions were allowed to increase the intake capacity as per PCI norms and/or to start additional pharmacy course(s).

The 4 High Court judgments in question

The Karnataka High Court[1]; Delhi High Court[2] and Chhattisgarh High Court[3], while allowing the writ petitions filed by the respondent-institutions and quashing and setting aside the Resolutions/communications of PCI’s Central Council, in a nutshell, held:

 (i) That the right to establish educational institutions is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1) (g) of the Constitution of India;

(ii) That there can be reasonable restrictions on such a right. However, such a restriction can be imposed only by law enacted by the competent legislature;

(iii) Resolution/Communication dated 17.07.2019, vide which the moratorium was imposed is an executive instruction and could not be construed as a law and, therefore, the moratorium imposed by an executive instruction is not sustainable in law.

Bombay High Court[4],  on the other hand, upheld the moratorium. It was argued before the Court that said judgment of the Bombay High Court has not been considered by all the three High Courts of Karnataka, Delhi and Chhattisgarh.

Supreme Court’s Analysis and Verdict

Holding that the right to establish an educational institution is a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India and reasonable restrictions on such a right can be imposed only by a law and not by an execution instruction, the Court held that the Bombay High Court, did not lay down the correct position of law and that the view taken by the High Courts of Karnataka, Delhi and Chhattisgarh laid down the correct position of law.

Deciding against PCI, the Court held that PCI could not impose restrictions on the fundamental right to establish educational institutions under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India. Hence, the Resolutions/communications dated 17th July 2019 and 9th September 2019 of the Central Council of PCI have been struck down.

On Necessity to impose restrictions

There could indeed be a necessity to impose certain restrictions so as to prevent mushrooming growth of pharmacy colleges. Such restrictions may be in the larger general public interest. However, if that has to be done, it has to be done strictly in accordance with law. If and when such restrictions are imposed by an Authority competent to do so, the validity of the same can always be scrutinized on the touchstone of law.

On requirement of “No Objection Certificate” 

The applications seeking approval for D. Pharm and B. Pharm courses are required to be accompanied by a “No Objection Certificate” (“NOC”) from the State Government and consent of affiliation from the affiliating bodies. While scrutinizing such applications, the Council can always take into consideration various factors before deciding to  allow  or  reject  such  applications. Merely because an institution has a right to establish an educational institution does not mean that such an application has to be allowed.  In a particular area, if there are more than sufficient number of institutions already existing, the Central Council can always take into consideration as to whether it is necessary or not to increase the number of institutions in such an area. However, a blanket prohibition on the establishment of pharmacy colleges cannot be imposed by an executive resolution.

[Pharmacy Council of India v. Rajeev Pharmacy College, CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6681 OF 2022, decided on 15.09.2022]

*Judgment by: Justice BR Gavai

For PCI: Senior Advocate Maninder Singh

For Respondents: Senior Advocates Rakesh Dwivedi and Vinay Navare, Advocates Amit Pai, Sanjay Sharawat, Siddharth R. Gupta, and Shivam Singh

[1] Writ Appeal No. 746­748 of 2020, dated 09.11.2021

[2] Writ Petition (Civil) No.175 of 2021, dated 07.03.2020

[3] 2022 SCC OnLine Chh 762

[4] 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 2564

Case BriefsSupreme Court

“It needs no emphasis that the right to education guaranteed in terms of Article 21A of the Constitution would envisage quality education being imparted to the children which in turn, would signify that the teachers must be meritorious and the best of the lot. Any process which applied equally to all the candidates and was designed to garner the best talent, cannot be called arbitrary or irrational.”

Supreme Court: In the case relating to filing up of 69000 vacancies of Assistant Teachers in the State of Uttar Pradesh, the bench of UU Lalit* and MM Shantangoudar, JJ has dismissed the petitions challenging the fixation of 65-60% as minimum qualifying marks for Assistant Teacher Recruitment Examination- 2019 (ATRE-2019) and the eligibility of B.Ed. candidates for the posts of Assistant Teachers under the U.P. Basic Education (Teachers) Service Rules, 1981. While doing so, the Court said,

“If the ultimate object is to select the best available talent and there is a power to fix the minimum qualifying marks,… we do not find any illegality or impropriety in fixation of cut off at 65-60% vide order dated 07.01.2019.”

Resultantly, the Court has directed that the State Government shall now be entitled to fill up all the concerned posts in terms of the result declared on 12.05.2020. 

Relevant Facts

  • On 26-5-1999, a Government Order was issued by the State of U.P. for engagement of Shiksha Mitras (Parateacher) in order to provide universal primary education and to maintain teacher student ratio in primary schools by hiring persons who were not duly qualified at lesser cost as against the prescribed salary of a qualified teacher.
  • On 19-6-2013, a GO was issued giving permission for appointment of Shiksha Mitras on the post of Assistant Teachers in primary schools without having the eligibility and qualifications in terms of the RTE Act, 2009. Consequential executive orders were issued for absorption of 1,24,000 graduate Shiksha Mitras and 46,000 intermediate Shiksha Mitras.
  • On 27.05.2018 ATRE-2018 was conducted. In the results, 41,556 candidates were declared to have qualified with qualifying marks of 45- 40% out of which, 40296 candidates applied for counselling and were selected for appointment on 13.08.2018. About 4500 candidates were added to this number after re-valuation process.
  • On 06.01.2019 ATRE-2019 was conducted without there being any specification of minimum qualifying marks.
  • On 07.01.2019, an order was passed by the Special Secretary to the State Government: prescribing the minimum qualifying marks in respect of ‘Assistant Teacher Recruitment Exam 2019’ for Primary Schools run by Uttar Pradesh, Basic Siksha Council.
  • On 24.01.2019, 23rd Amendment to 1981 Rules was published. Consequently, Graduates having 50 per cent or more marks and holding degree of Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) became eligible for posts of Assistant Master and Assistant Mistresses in Junior Basic Schools in the manner laid down in the Amendment. The concerned provisions in 1981 Rules dealing with eligibility of such candidate were given retrospective effect from 01.01.2018.

What the Supreme Court said

On eligibility of B.Ed. candidates

For maintaining standards of education in schools, the NCTE is specifically empowered to determine the qualifications of persons for being recruited as teachers in schools or colleges. In addition to regulating standards in “teacher education system”, the NCTE Act also deals with regulation and proper maintenance of norms and standards in respect of qualifications of persons to be recruited as teachers.

The eligibility or entitlement being already conferred by Notification dated 28.06.2018, the amendments to 1981 Rules were effected only to make the statutory regime consistent with the directives issued by the NCTE. The right or eligibility was not conferred by amendments effected to 1981 Rules for the first time but was only to effectuate the statutory regime in tune or accord with NCTE directives. Theoretically, even if such statutory regime was not made so consistent, the concerned candidates holding B.Ed. degrees could still be eligible and could not have been denied candidature for ATRE-2019. Pertinently, the performance in ATRE is one of the indicia that goes into making of quality points which in turn have to be considered at the stage of preparation of merit list for selection. By the time the actual process of selection was undertaken, the statutory regime in the form of 1981 Rules was perfectly consistent and in order.

Hence, the B.Ed. candidates were rightly allowed to participate in the instant selection process.

On 65-60% cutoff

Difference in nature of ATRE-2018 and ATRE-2019

In ATRE-2018, the percentage of qualifying candidates was thus 38.83%. On the other hand, the percentage of qualifying candidates in ATRE-2019 was 37.62%, which was almost equal to that in ATRE-2018. However, the number of qualified candidates in ATRE-2018 was less than the number of vacancies; while even with the cut off at 65-60% the number of qualified candidates in the present selection was far in excess of the number of posts. This happened because,

“Though the syllabus and subject wise allocation of marks were identical, the nature of ATRE-2019 was entirely different. The questions in ATRE-2018 were descriptive in nature and the duration of examination was three hours. However, those in ATRE 2019 were multiple choice – objective questions and the duration of examination was also different.”

Hence, there could be different parameters regarding minimum qualifying marks for ATRE-2019.

Candidates appearing in ATRE-2018 and ATRE-2019 formed different classes

All the candidates including Shiksha Mitras who appeared in ATRE 2018 formed one class while those who appeared in ATRE 2019 formed another class. There cannot be inter se connection or homogeneity between candidates appearing in one examination or selection with those appearing in another examination or selection.

“The basic norms of ATRE-2019 must be tested on their own and cannot depend upon para meters or norms on the basis of which ATRE-2018 was held. Otherwise the integrity of the examination process will get defeated and nullified.”

65-60% cutoff was fixed to garner best available talent

Even with 65-60% cutoff, the percentage of qualified candidates in ATRE-2019 was 37.62% which was quite close to 38.83% in ATRE-2018 and the number of qualified candidates was far in excess of the vacancies required to be filled up. Thus, cut off at 65-60% level in the present case, by itself cannot be termed as incorrect or illegal exercise of power. Those Shiksha Mitras who were meritorious and took the examination with seriousness that it deserved, certainly succeeded in securing marks more than the cut off of 65-60%. Hence,

“… the fixation of cut off at 65- 60% which was intended to select the best of the candidates cannot be termed as exclusionary nor was it intended to deprive the Shiksha Mitras of the advantage of weightage for experience.”

State Government is empowered to determine minimum marks “from time to time”

In terms of Rule 2(1)(x) of 1981 Rules, qualifying marks of ATRE are such minimum marks as may be determined ‘from time to time’ by the Government. If this power is taken to be conditioned with the requirement that the stipulation must be part of the instrument notifying the examination, it would lead to illogical consequences. On one hand, the relevant Rule requires passing of ATRE while, on the other hand, there would be no minimum qualifying marks prescribed. Hence, the Government must be said to be having power to lay down such minimum qualifying marks not exactly alongside instrument notifying the examination but at such other reasonable time as well.


“If the Government has the power to fix minimum qualifying marks ‘from time to time’, there is nothing in the Rules which can detract from the exercise of such power even after the examination is over, provided the exercise of such power is not actuated by any malice or ill will and is in furtherance of the object of finding the best available talent.”

Third chance to Shiksha Mitras

Even though the challenge by Shiksha Mitras was dismissed, the Court directed that one more opportunity shall be afforded to Shiksha Mitras to compete in the next selection. The Court left it to the discretion of the State Government to consider the manner and the modalities in which such opportunity can be availed of.

[Ram Sharan Maurya v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 939, 17.11.2020]

*Justice UU Lalit has penned this judgment

Advocates who appeared in the matter

For the Shiksha Mitras: Senior Advocates P.S. Patwalia, C.A. Sundaram, Rakesh Dwivedi,  Rajiv Dhawan, Nidhesh Gupta, V. Shekhar, S. Guru Krishna Kumar, Meenakshi Arora, Dinesh Diwedi, K.T.S. Tulsi, Mr. Jayant Bhushan, and advocates Gaurav Agrawal and Tanya Agarwal.

For State: Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati

For B. Ed./BTC Candidates: Senior Advocates H.N. Salve,  R. Venkataramani,  Pallav Shishodiya, K.V. Vishwanathan and V. Mohana

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of SA Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari, JJ ‘reluctantly’ dismissed an SLP arising out of a Allahabad High Court order which held that the students with certificates from ‘bogus and fictitious’ organisations cannot be allowed to continue pursuing their courses at Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University (APJAKTU).

The Court said,

“We do have sympathy but this is not a case where we can really translate our sympathy to a relief in the present case, more so, in view of the fact that since this exam system is found to be fraudulent, the petitioners before us will never have a recognized plus two status and to give such students the opportunity to get a degree from the University will create a great anomaly.”

The Court also took noticed that the Jharkhand State open exam process itself appears to be a complete fraud. It also faulted the University for not carrying out an appropriate verification as also the State Government “which should have kept a watch for such fraudulent exam systems which operate out of one room”.

The Court, hence, asked the University and the State Government to take immediate corrective action and also bring the defaulters to book.

On being apprised that the continuation on the website of the recognition of the Board is not only creating a problem in Jharkhand but also in other Universities and hence immediate steps should be taken in this behalf, the Court asked all concerned to do the needful within three days.

[Sahil Sohail v. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 719, order dated 07.09.2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Rebuking the State of Kerala seeking to impose its authority over schools that provide apparently quality education, the bench of Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta, JJ said:

“The fundamental right to free and compulsory education to all children between the age of 6 and 14 years postulates good quality education and not just education for the sake of providing education. Regulation of such education is permissible by law and not by executive fiat.”

The Court was hearing the issue pertaining to guidelines issued by the State to the schools seeking affiliation. The guidelines stipulated the requirement of minimum 3 acres of land and a minimum 300 enrolled students for obtaining NOC for affiliation.

Requirement of minimum 3 acres of land:

State of Kerala: A school seeking an NOC for affiliation to the CBSE must have 3 acres of land out of which 2 acres should be contiguous and in the actual location of the school.

Court: According to the CBSE Bye-Laws, the minimum land requirement varies from location to location. In metropolitan and capital cities as well as in hilly areas, it would be difficult to get 3 acres of land or even 2 acres of land. Similarly, due to the terrain it would perhaps be difficult to get adequate land in the North Eastern region of the country as well as in Jammu & Kashmir. This realism deserves to be contrasted with non-realistic inflexibility of Kerala which too has some hilly areas where perhaps it might be difficult to find 3 acres of land.

“It appears to us that the rigid requirement of Kerala indicates that it is imposed upon the schools that seek affiliation with the CBSE only with a view to unnecessarily burden them with an onerous and arbitrary condition, since Kerala believes it has the authority to do so.”

Requirement of minimum enrolment of 300 students:

State of Kerala: If a school does not have a minimum of 300 students, it would be difficult for that school to pay the required wages of the staff and the teachers except by charging exorbitant fees.

Court: There is no material on record to substantiate such a conclusion and it is based merely on the ipse dixit of the State.

“We do not see how, if the number of students is less than 300, it will detract from the quality of education imparted to the students. In other words, the requirement of a minimum strength of 300 students is a completely arbitrary figure arrived at by Kerala and which has no rational nexus with quality education or the CBSE Affiliation Bye-laws.”

Requirement of compulsory Aadhaar for enrolment of students:

The Court left the issue open to await the decision of Constitution Bench in the ongoing Aadhaar matter.

[State of Kerala v. Mythri Vidya Bhavan English M. Sch.,  2018 SCC OnLine SC 481, decided on 02.05.2018]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The Bench of SA Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao, JJ dismissed all 5 petitions challenging the decision of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to conduct a re-examination of the Class 12 economics paper after an alleged leak. The Bench said that it is CBSE’s discretion to conduct the re-examination and can’t be challenged in the Court.

Several petitions were filed before the Court after the CBSE said on March 28 that the Class 10 maths and Class 12 economics paper had allegedly leaked. The CBSE, however, said yesterday that it has found after assessment there was no impact of alleged paper leak of Class 10 maths paper and no re-examination would be held.

Besides challenging the CBSE’s decision to conduct retest, the petitioners also wanted a CBI probe into the alleged paper leak, saying several incidents were reported from various states and Delhi Police was not competent to hold the nation-wide probe. One of the petitioners also sought a direction to the CBSE to declare the results on the basis of the examinations already conducted.

A petition filed by the students read:

“To penalise the student community for an incident which is under investigation and without completion of that investigation/enquiry and issuing a notice on March 28, 2018 (for re-exams), affects the fundamental rights of students which is arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional.”

Source: PTI

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and AM Khanwilkar and Dr. DY Chandrachud, JJ ordered the transfer of the matter pending before the Patna High Court, where the constitution of the Inspecting Team by the National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE) for inspection of the Teachers’ Educational Institutions was in question.

The Court ordered the transfer of the matter under Article 139A of the Constitution of India after Manish Kumar, appearing for the Bihar School Examination Board in a similar matter, brought to the Court’s notice that the question as to inspections of the Institutions in the State of Bihar was being heard by the Patna High Court and that it was suggesting removal of NCTE Chairman.

On 09.08.2017, Chakradhari Sharan Singh, J of Patna High Court had said that nominating Stenographer, Section Officer and Videographer, showed complete none application of mind, high handedness and arbitrariness on the part of the authorities of the NCTE and directed for inclusion of Union of India as party for deciding the question of the procedure for removal of the Chairman of the NCTE. It was said the persons, holding top position in the NCTE, were either completely insensitive towards the issues or were completely incompetent to hold the position, which they are holding. A. Santhosh Mathew is serving as the Chairman of NCTE.  While hearing the matter on 04.09.2017, the Court was informed by Shivam Singh, the counsel appearing for NCTE, that the Supreme Court has ordered for transfer of all the cases to the Supreme Court and hence, refrained from passing any order.

The Supreme Court will hear all the connected matters on 09.10.2017. [St. Paul Teacher Training College v. State of Bihar, Writ Petition(s)(Civil) No(s). 694/2017, order dated 01.09.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the case where a Medical Institution was aggrieved the Government order dated 31.05.2017, which resulted into non-renewal of the permission to admit students for the academic year 2017-2018, the 3-judge bench of Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar, JJ held that the order was non-reasoned and directed the Central Government to afford a further opportunity of hearing to the petitioners as per Section 10-A of the Medical Council Act, 1956 and also take the assistance of the Supreme Court mandated Oversight Committee. The matter will be taken up on 24.08.2017.

Stressing upon the need to have institutions which are worthy to impart medical education so that the society has not only qualified doctors but doctors with impeccable and sensitive qualities, the Court said that the objectivity of the Hearing Committee and the role of the Central Government assume great significance in this regard.  The real compliant institutions should not always be kept under the sword of Damocles. Stability can be brought by affirmative role played by the Central Government and the stability and objectivity would be perceptible if reasons are ascribed while expressing a view and absence of reasons makes the decision sensitively susceptible.

The Court said that the direction of the Central Government for compliance verification report should not be construed as a limited remand as is understood within the framework of Code of Civil Procedure or any other law. The distinction between the principles of open remand and limited remand is not attracted. It was clarified that it would be inapposite to restrict the power of the MCI by laying down as an absolute principle that once the Central Government sends back the matter to MCI for compliance verification and the Assessors visit the College they shall only verify the mentioned items and turn a blind eye even if they perceive certain other deficiencies. The Court said that the emphasis is on the compliant institutions that can really educate doctors by imparting quality education so that they will have the inherent as well as cultivated attributes of excellence. [IQ City Foundation v. UOI, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 842 decided on 01.08.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the case where the Government of India order, by which the colleges/institutions have been directed not to admit students in the MBBS Course in the academic years 2017-18 and 2018-19, the 3-judge bench of Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar, JJ said that a reasonable opportunity of hearing contained in the proviso to Section 10A(4) of Medical Council Act, 1956 is an indispensable pre-condition for disapproval by the Central Government of any scheme for establishment of a medical college and hence the Central Government should consider afresh the materials on record pertaining to the issue of confirmation or otherwise of the letter of permission granted to the petitioner colleges/institutions.

The Court further said that the Supreme Court Mandated Oversight Committee is empowered to oversee all statutory functions under the Act, and further all policy decisions of the MCI would require its approval and that its recommendations, to state the least, on the issue of establishment of a medical college, can by no means be disregarded or left out of consideration. The Court clarified that the Oversight Committee is also empowered the Oversight Committee to issue appropriate remedial directions.

The order that was challenged was the order dated 31.05.2017 of the Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (Department of Health and Family Welfare) whereby the conditional permission for the establishment of the medical colleges for the academic year 2016-17, granted on the basis of the approval of the Supreme Court Mandated Oversight Committee had been cancelled and the colleges have been debarred from admitting students in the next two academic years i.e. 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Asking the Central Government to re-evaluate the recommendations/views of the MCI, Hearing Committee, DGHS and the Oversight Committee, as available on records, the Court directed that the process of hearing and final reasoned decision should be completed within 10 days. The matter will next be taken up on 24.08.2017. [Glocal Medical College and Super Speciality Hospital & Research Centre v. UOI, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 846, order dated 01.08.2017]


Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Upholding the Allahabad High Court decision quashing the Uttar Pradesh Government’s order regularizing the Shiksha Mitras, the bench of A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit, JJ said that the Shiksha Mitras cannot be regularized as teachers as the appointment of Shiksha Mitras was not only contractual, it was not as per qualification prescribed for a teacher nor on designation of teacher nor in pay scale of teachers.

Noticing that the Shiksha Mitras were never appointed as teachers as per applicable qualifications and are not covered by relaxation order under Section 23(2) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, they could not be appointed as teachers in breach of Section 23(1) of the said Act, the Court said that regularisation can only be of a mere irregularity and that the State is not competent to relax the qualifications.

However, in order to strike a balance between the claims of 1.78 Lakhs persons to be regularized in violation of law and the duty to uphold the rule of law and also to have regard to the right of children in the age of 6 to 14 years to receive quality education from duly qualified teachers, the Court said that It may be permissible to give some weightage to the experience of Shiksha Mitras or some age relaxation may be possible, but mandatory qualifications cannot be dispensed with.

It was held that the Shiksha Mitras should be given opportunity to be considered for recruitment if they have acquired or they now acquire the requisite qualification in terms of advertisements for recruitment for next two consecutive recruitments. They may also be given suitable age relaxation and some weightage for their experience as may be decided by the concerned authority. Stating that consideration for career of 1.78 lac Shiksha Mitras, over and above their legal right, cannot be at the cost of fundamental right of children to free quality education by duly qualified teachers in terms of legislative mandate, the bench said that even if for a stop gap arrangement teaching may be by unqualified teachers, qualified teachers have to be ultimately appointed.

Untrained Shiksha Mitras were appointed in the State of Uttar Pradesh under the Uttar Pradesh Basic Education (Teachers) Service (Nineteenth Amendment) Rules 2014. Terms of appointment for these Shiksha Mitras were relaxed and they appointed for imparting primary education without appearing for Teachers Eligibility Test. [State of U.P. v. Anand Kumar Yadav, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 792, decided on 25.07.2017]

Hot Off The PressNews

Delhi High Court: Coming down heavily upon the current Education system, the Court that the Education system has become completely dehumanised and has become a machine that mass produces clones as individuality is frowned upon now.

The Court was hearing the matter of the suicide committed by an Amity University student, Sushant Rohilla, on 10.08.2016 due to allegedly being harassed for low attendance. The Supreme Court had taken suo motu cognizance of the matter on 05.09.2016 after the former CJI, Jutice T.S. Thakur received a letter from the deceased student’s friend and had transferred the case to Delhi High Court in March earlier this year.

Considering the fact that the student was barred from sitting in exams due to low attendance, the Court said that despite the fact that the student approached the University for help as he wasn’t able to attend the classes due to health issues, there was no response to his pleas and he was forced to take his life because system was not in place in his University. The Court said that there was perhaps an element of callousness in how the University handled the deceased student’s cry for help before he took the extreme step.

Source: PTI


Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the case where recognition application of an institute for the year 2017-2018 was rejected by National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) on the ground that the faculty list did not contain signatures on each and every page and only last page was signed by the Registrar of the affiliating body, the bench of Dr. A.K. Sikri and Deepak Gupta, JJ that recognition cannot be rejected on mere technical defects.

Considering the fact that the petitioner approached the Registrar of the affiliating body and the Registrar thereafter gave fresh list which is signed and stamped on each page, the Court said that the defect was purely of technical nature and that too beyond the control of the petitioner inasmuch as earlier list was approved by the Registrar of the affiliating body and it is the Registrar who failed to get the signatures on each page and that defect having been revised. The Court, hence, directed, the NCTE to issue recognition certificate to the petitioner. [ D.L.S. SHIKSHA MAHAVIDHYALAY v. NCTE, WRIT PETITION (C) NO.377 OF 2017, decided on 29.05.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Refusing to entertain the PIL seeking issuance of a writ of mandamus and appropriate directions commanding the Union of India and all the States and Union Territories to incorporate detailed life history and teachings of all the ten Sikh Gurus along with Guru Granth Saheb in syllabus of all the classes in history books for teaching, the Court said the broad canvass that is sought to be painted in this petition does not come within the domain and sphere of the public interest litigation.

The Bench of Dipak Misra and A.M. Khanwilkar, JJ said that what shall be taught in the schools or what shall be included in the syllabus of all classes cannot be directed by this Court in exercise of power of judicial review and also in exercise of power relating to entertaining public interest litigation where rule of locus is not insisted upon and the scope and ambit have been exercised. It was said any litigant should not feel, when he files a public interest litigation that his hope and aspirations for anything and everything deserves to crystalise. He should not harbour the feelings that for any idea to be fructified, he can knock at the doors of this Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. [Subhash Chander Katyal v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 465, order dated 24.04.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the case where the a Dental College, upon failing to receive permission to start post-graduate course of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics along with four other specialties, had knocked the door of the High Court of Bombay and the High Court had passed an interim order stating that the admission process undertaken by the Institution is at the risk of the Institution and that the Institution shall intimate the order passed by this Court to the students who are intending to take admission for the Post-Graduate course, the Court said that High Court should not pass such interim orders in the matters of admission, more so, when the institution had not been accorded approval, as it brings in anarchy and chaos in the process of admission.

Considering it necessary to interfere with the order of the High Court, the bench of Dipak Misra and M.M. Shantanagoudar, JJ said that the High Court may feel that while exercising power under Article 226 of the Constitution, it can pass such orders with certain qualifiers as has been done by the impugned order, but it really does not save the situation. The institution might be directed to inform the students that the matter is sub judice, but the career oriented students get into the college with the hope and aspiration that in the ultimate eventuate everything shall be correct for them and they will be saved. It is a situation where the order has the potentiality to play with the career and life of young.

Taking note of the fact that by virtue of the said interim order, 3 students had been admitted and they are prosecuting their studies, the Court directed that those students shall be allowed to continue their courses, but their seats shall be adjusted from the academic session 2017-2018. Stating that the respondent-college cannot be allowed to get a premium, the Court, apart from the adjustment of seats for the next academic session, directed the respondent-college to deposit a sum of Rs. 30 Lakhs before the Registry of this Court within 8 weeks. The Court clarified that the said cost shall in no manner be recovered from the students who had been admitted nor shall it be collected from the students who will be admitted to the course in the next year.

The Court will take up the matter in the third week of July to ensure the compliance of the directions of the Court and to determine how to deal with the sum deposited by the respondent-college. [Dental Council of India v. Dr. Hedgewar Smruti Rugna Seva Mandal, Hingoli, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 376, decided on 11.04.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the petition seeking quashing of admission notice issued by CBSE dated 31.1.2017 that stipulates the maximum age of 25 years as eligible candidates to undergo the NEET examination, the bench of Dipak Misra and A.M. Khanwilkar, JJ said that, prima facie, such an age limit could not have been determined by way of a notice on the basis of the instructions issued by the Medical Council of India and that it is appropriate to direct that all the desirous candidates will be allowed to fill up the forms on the online portal of the CBSE on or before 5.4.2017.

It was contended by the petitioners that in the absence of Regulations framed by the Medical Council of India with regard to the age limit, by issuance of a notice, the age limit could not have been determined and that there are students who, after graduation, are also desirous of taking NEET examination to become doctors.

Directing that the online portal shall be opened from today evening, the Court said that if the competent authority of the CBSE seeks any logistic support from the agencies for having additional centres in the District, the Collector of the concerned District or the Commissioner of the City whoever is the authority will extend all the support so that the forms are accepted and the examinations are held on the date fixed by making different centres available.

The Court further clarified that if any High Court has passed any order contrary to the present order, the CBSE shall be bound by the order passed by this Court as far as the cut-off date is concerned. However, no High Court in the country shall interfere with regard to any litigation pertaining to choosing/allocation of centres.

The matter will be taken up in the second week of July, 2017 for final hearing. [Rai Sabyasachi v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 303, order dated 31.03.2017]


Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the matter where the appellants had challenged the order cancelling the admissions to Medical Institutes in the wake of the VYAPAM Scam and had sought for direction allowing them to complete their education to satisfy the demands of justice as the future of 634 students was at stakes, the 3-judge bench of J.S. Khehar, CJ and Kurian Joseph and Arun Mishra, JJ said that the actions of the appellants, are founded on unacceptable behaviour, and in complete breach of the rule of law and hence, refused to invoke Article 142 of the Constitution.

The present controversy arose after the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board cancelled the results of the appellants admitted to the MBBS course during the years 2008 to 2012, on the ground that the appellants had gained admission to the course, by resorting to unfair means, during the Pre-Medical Test. The manipulation by which the appellants obtained admission involved, not only a breach in the computer system, whereby roll numbers were allotted to the appellants, to effectuate their plans. It also involved the procurement of meritorious candidates/persons, who would assist them, in answering the questions in the Pre-Medical Test. The appellants’ position, next to the concerned helper, at the examination, was also based on further computer interpolations. Not only were the seating plans distorted for achieving the purpose, even the institutions where the appellants were to take the Pre-Medical Test, were arranged in a manner, as would suit the appellants, again by a similar process of computer falsification.

On 12.05.2016, the bench of J. Chelameswar and A.M. Sapre, JJ had given a split decision and had placed the matter before the Chief Justice of India. Chelameswar, J was of the view that the knowledge of the appellants would be simply rendered useless for the society in the sense their knowledge cannot be utilized for the welfare of the society, said that the appellants be allowed to complete their education. Sapre, J, on the other hand, said that grant of any equitable relief may be construed as awarding premium to the appellants of what they did.

Agreeing with the view taken by Sapre, J, the Court said that the actions of the appellants constitute acts of deceit, invading into a righteous social order. Rejecting the argument that individual benefits, that may be drawn by the appellants, may be drastically curtailed, and their academic pursuit be regularised, for societal benefit, the Court said that national character cannot be sacrificed for benefits – individual or societal. It was held that even the trivialist act of wrong doing, based on a singular act of fraud, cannot be countenanced, in the name of justice. The present case, unfolds a mass fraud. The course suggested, if accepted, would not only be imprudent, but would also be irresponsible. It would encourage others, to follow the same course. The bench said that “If we desire to build a nation on the touchstone of ethics and character, and if our determined goal is to build a nation where only the rule of law prevails, then we cannot accept the claim of the appellants, for the suggested societal gains.” [Nidhi Kaim v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 123, decided on 13.02.17]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Dealing with an important question as to whether the process of appointment of a principal in minority institution is open to judicial review, the bench of A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit, JJ, held that while under the constitutional scheme, a “minority institution” is free to select and appoint a principal, without being bound by the principle of seniority alone, whether the appointment has been made fairly and reasonably and whether there is violation of right of an individual eligible candidate by the minority institution by not adopting fair procedure, is liable to be tested in exercise of power of judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution.

In the present case, where a person junior to the appellant, who was appointed as Incharge-Principal, in the absence of regular principal, was appointed to the post of principal of a minority institution, the Court said that the minority institution may not be compelled to go by seniority alone but it must follow a criterion which is rational.

Stating that the grievance of a citizen that he was treated unfairly cannot be ignored on the ground that a minority institution has autonomy or right of choice, the Court said that the exercise of right of choice has to be fair, non-discriminatory and rational. The Autonomy of a minority institution does not dispense with the requirement to act fairly and in a transparent manner and the High Court in exercise of its power of judicial review is entitled to examine fairness of selection process. [Ivy C. da. Conceicao v. State of Goa, 2012 SCC OnLine Bom 1040 , decided on 31.01.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Showing concern over the fate of the student who has been deprived of admission to the MBBS course, despite he or she being meritorious, vigilant and diligent and thereby abandoning the path of recalcitrance and eventually being found flawless, is forced to suffer non-admission to the course for which he had aspired for and found suitable because of lapses committed either by the counselling authority or the administrating authority intrinsically connected with the process of admission; the bench of Dipak Misra and R.F. Nariman, JJ said that when the courts have gone to the extent of saying that for the fault of the court, the litigant should not suffer, it is unimaginable that for the fault of the administrators or the counselling body or for some kind of evil designer, grant of compensation should be regarded as the lone remedy.

Relying upon the 2-judge bench decision in Chandigarh Administration v. Jasmine Kaur, (2014) 10 SCC 521, the Medical Council of India contended that grant of compensation is the only possible remedy. The Court hence said that the aforementioned decision requires re-consideration by a larger bench as the redressal of a fundamental right, if one deserves to have, cannot be weighed in terms of grant of compensation only. Grant of compensation may be an additional relief. Confining it to grant of compensation as the only measure would defeat the basic purpose of the fundamental rights which the Constitution has conferred so that the said rights are sustained. It would be inapposite to recognize the right, record a finding that there is a violation of the right and deny the requisite relief. A young student should not feel that his entire industry to get himself qualified in the examination becomes meaningless because of some fault or dramatic design of certain authorities and they can get away by giving some amount as compensation. It may not only be agonizing but may amount to grant of premium either to laxity or evil design or incurable greed of the authorities. [S. Krishna Sradha v. State of Andhra Pradesh, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 66, decided on 19.01.2017]


Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Setting aside the admission of the petitioner to the Christian Medical College in the State of Chhattisgarh, the bench of Madan B. Lokur and P.C. Pant, JJ said that the Court cannot go against the orders passed by this Court from time to time only for the benefit of the students.

The petitioner and some other students had obtained admission to the medical college after clearing the CGMAT-2016. However, on 21.12.2010 a gazette notification was issued by the Medical Council of India amending the “Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997” to the effect, inter alia, that admissions to the MBBS course shall be based solely on marks obtained in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test.

The petitioner had contended that he had already been granted admission by the College after the examination CGMAT-2016 was conducted by the College and supervised and monitored by the State of Chhattisgarh and in which there were no allegations of impropriety, his admission should not be disturbed. Rejecting the said contention, the Court said that the question is not of any impropriety in the conduct of the examination but the question is really one of adhering to a particular discipline laid down by the Medical Council of India and approved by this Court. The Court said the plight of the petitioner is unfortunate but it cannot be helped.

Considering the fact that some similarly placed students participated in NEET and qualified in the examination, the Court said that those students who did not participate in NEET and placed their trust only in the College and the State of Chhattisgarh took a gamble and that gamble have unfortunately not succeeded. [Rishabh Choudhary v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 53, decided on 23.01.2017]