Case BriefsHigh CourtsUniversities and Educational Institutions

Punjab and Haryana High Court: While deciding upon 68 writ petitions filed by various Professors and Assistant Professors of the Panjab University and its affiliated colleges, all seeking the writ of Mandamus directing the Central Government and the Panjab University to raise the age of superannuation from service to 65 years, the Bench of Amol Rattan Singh, J., dismissed the petitions stating that the matter of raising the age of superannuation is solely a matter of executive policy.

In the instant petitions it was contended that the respondent University is sui generis and is Centrally governed, controlled and funded and therefore a Central University, and relied upon Section 2 (b) of the Panjab University Act, 1947 and Section 72 of the Punjab Re-Organization Act, 1966, Section 2(d) of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, Article 248 of the Constitution read with Entry 97 in List I of the Seventh Schedule, and Article 254 of the Constitution, read with Clause 2.1.0 of the UGC Regulations 2010. It was contended that since the University is being funded by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development through the UGC, it would also be governed by Clause 2.1.0, per se, and the age of superannuation of its teachers should thus be raised to 65 years. In rebuttal the respondents contended that Panjab University was established by the Panjab University Act, 1947, and at that time, the ‘area of jurisdiction’ of the University covered the undivided State of Punjab. In 1966 upon the reorganization of the State of Punjab University was declared to be an Inter-State body corporate, as per Section 72 (3) of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966.

Upon perusing the contentions, the Court declined to accept the petitioners’ contention to that the plain meaning of the words contained in Clause 2.1.0 of the UGC Regulations must be given effect without any additions or subtractions whatsoever. The Court further perused the letter of the Director (U.II) MHRD, which clarified that the respondent University is not a Central University but an Inter State body; even the documents relied by the petitioners failed to prove the same. It was further added that an increased quantum of funding by the Central Government also does not render the respondent University to be a Central University. The Court thus concluded that it did not find the decision of refusing to raise the age of superannuation as arbitrary. [Bhura Singh Ghuman v. Panjab University2016 SCC OnLine P&H 6385, decided on 16.08.2016]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Allowing the Writ petition in which the petitioner had challenged the notice passed by the Central Board of Secondary Education against revaluation of the theory paper of Physical Education, the bench of Amit Rawal, J; held that there is no rationale behind prohibiting the revaluation of the theory paper of Physical Education and instructed the respondents to consider the request of the petitioner.

The Court relied upon judgment rendered by Delhi High Court in Samarth Mittal v. Union of India and others, 2015(6) AD (Delhi) 498, and said that such notice has already been held to be void in law and directed the CBSE board to conduct revaluation of theory paper of Physical Education as per bye-laws. The Court further held that as the bye-laws do not promulgate any restriction with regard to the revaluation of the subject aforementioned, therefore, CBSE cannot on its own put fetter restricted qua one paper, permitting in others.  Hence, quashing the notice under challenge, the Court  directed the CBSE to conduct revaluation as sought for and publish results within two weeks. [Shaurya Gulati v. Central Board of Secondary Education; 2016 SCC OnLine P&H 4260; decided on 13th June, 2016]

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Punjab and Haryana High Court: Deciding a revision petition filed against the judgment passed by the trial court which held the petitioners as well as two other accused guilty of committing an offence punishable under Section 4-B/8 of the Punjab Prohibition of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955, the bench of Hari Pal Verma, J., held that the trial court has rightly appreciated the evidence on record while holding the petitioners guilty of the charge framed against them.

In a case where an FIR was registered against the petitioners under Section 4-B/8 of the 1955 Act, the trial court sentenced the accused to undergo simple imprisonment for six months and to pay a fine of Rs.1,000/- each. Aggrieved against this judgment, the petitioners and two other accused, filed two appeals which were dismissed. So, the petitioners  preferred the present revision petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court praying that the sentence awarded to all the petitioners be reduced to the period already undergone by them. On the other hand, the State Council contended that as the petitioners have committed a serious crime which has caused hurt to the religious sentiments of people at large so they should not be showed any leniency.

In the light of the above arguments, the Court held that there is no infirmity, illegality or perversity in the findings given by both the Courts. The court further directed that the sentence awarded to the petitioners shall be reduced to the period already undergone by them subject to their payment of cost of Rs.9,000/- each. However, the sentence of fine imposed by the trial Court and affirmed by the appellate Court shall remain intact. Hence the court opined that except with modification in the quantum of sentence, as indicated herein above, the revision petition stands dismissed. [Mohd. Aslam v. State of Haryana, 2016 SCC OnLine P&H 4226, decided 13 May 2016]


Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: An appeal was filed by the Oriental Insurance Company challenging the order of the lower court which had allowed a patient’s family to claim insurance for the death of the patient who had denied taking treatment against medical advice. The patient had met with an accident and he was in a serious condition, said doctors. But he got himself discharged against medical advice and succumbed to his injuries on the day of his discharge itself.

The appellant argued that the insured was already a TB patient with cirrhosis of liver and it could not be predicted that the death was only on account of head injury suffered in the accident and not his pre-existing condition. The doctor testifying for the Insurance Company stated in court that the chances of the recovery couldn’t be ruled out if the patient had stayed on for treatment. The doctor however, not able to assess the prospect of recovery.

The Court examined that between the date of accident and death, there were no other intervening incident that could have affected the medical conditions except that the patient himself denied the treatment which perhaps was available. The cause for death could also be easily discerned from the fact that when he was readmitted, the diagnosis was that there were internal bleeding within the skull and when there was a reference about the general poor condition. Seen in the context of such diagnosis with no reference to the condition of cirrhosis of liver or the tuberculosis which the deceased was said to have already contacted the precipitating factor for the poor condition was only the head injury with internal bleeding within the skull in the brain area. A decision to get discharged even against medical advice at the terminal stage of life shall not be likened to an invitation to assisted suicide. It is embracing dignity in death.

Thus, the High Court dismissing the appeal, approved the payment of the claim. [Oriental Insurance Company Limited v. R.K. Dogra, 2016 SCC OnLine P&H 3397, decided on 18-05-2016]