Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the issue pertaining to the admission of students in MBBS/BDS courses in the State of Maharashtra, the Court, exercising of powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, vacated the Bombay High Court’s order where the decision taken by the Central Government/State Government that the centralised counselling shall be conducted by the State Government, was stayed. However, it was clarified that the vacation of the stay will not disturb the admissions already made by the respondent universities keeping in view that respondents are deemed universities.

Taking into note the fact that the first counselling had already been completed, the bench of Dr. A.K. Sikri and L. Nageswara Rao, JJ said that insofar as second or third counselling is concerned, that shall be a joint exercise which means that it shall be done by the Committee of the State Government which shall include one representative each from these universities. It would be a centralised counselling for all the deemed universities and not university-wise counselling. In the second or third counselling, students will be taken by making a combined list of those who got themselves registered with the State Government as well as the respondent universities. This shall ensure admission of those who are more meritorious but left out but are interested in taking admission in the respondent universities. In this process, it will also be known as to which students are in fact interested in getting admission to the respondent universities.

It was further held that In order to undertake the counselling, all the admission records of the respondent universities shall be handed over to the State Government/Committee forthwith. Considering the fact that it may not be possible to complete the process of admission by September 30, 2016, the Court extended the time to complete the admission by October 7, 2016.

The decision of centralized counselling was taken vide Letter dated August 09, 2016 issued by the Government of India through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Government Resolution dated August 20, 2016 passed by the State of Maharashtra and the consequential Notice dated August 21, 2016 of the State of Maharashtra. [State of Maharashtra v. D.Y. Patil Education Society, CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9835 OF 2016, decided on 28.09.2016]

Case BriefsSupreme CourtUniversities and Educational Institutions

Supreme Court: In the matter where the selection to the post of Principals to different Colleges in the State of Uttar Pradesh was challenged for alleged violation of Regn. 6 of the Uttar Pradesh Higher Education Services Commission (Procedure for Selection of Teachers) Regulations, 1983, the bench of Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla and S.A. Bobde, JJ affirmed the decision of the Allahabad High Court where the selection was set aside and it was directed that the U.P. Higher Education Service Commission shall consider and frame appropriate guidelines for conduct of interview for selection on the post of Principal of Postgraduate/Degree Colleges in accordance with law as mandated by Regulation 6(2) of the 1983 Regulations and further take early steps for filling the vacant posts of Principal of Postgraduate/Degree Colleges in accordance with law.

The State Government enacted U.P. Higher Education Services Commission Act, 1980 to establish a Service Commission for the selection of Teachers which includes the post of Principals for appointment to the colleges affiliated to or recognized by the University under the 1973 Act as there were numerous complaints regarding the selection of candidates for both the post of Teachers as well as the Principals in the post graduate colleges as well as the degree colleges. The High Court had held that there were serious lapses in the procedure followed by the Commission in making the selection for the post of Principals of the Post Graduate as well as Degree colleges in as much as the Regulation 6 of the 1983 Regulation was not strictly followed and that the necessary guidelines under the said Regulation were not formulated both for screening the candidates as well as in the matter of holding the interview, apart from serious violation in the matter of calling of the candidates for interview beyond the prescribed limit as provided under the Regulation 6.

In the present case, initially the Commission decided to limit the number of candidates by fixing the norms. The Commission by fixing the cut-off mark as 34.9 for female candidates 35.1 for male candidates proceeded to process the applications but subsequently the index norms were altered and ultimately it decided to call all the candidates. It was alleged that such variation was adopted by the Commission with a view to favour certain candidates who otherwise did not come within the zone of consideration for participation in the interview.

The Court, considering the facts of the case, held that the High Court was well justified in holding that the changing of the norms while applying Regulation 6(1) for the initial screening thrown considerable doubt about the genuineness in the selection process adopted by the Commission. When greater faith and trust was invested with the Commission and when the Commission breached its own criteria and thereby acted contrary to the standards laid by it, it resulted in an arbitrary selection made by it. [Veerendra Kr. Gautam v. Karuna Nidhan Upadhyay, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 704, decided on 15.07.2016]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The matter where the appellants had challenged the order cancelling the admissions to Medical Institutes in the wake of the VYAPAM Scam, has been placed before the Chief Justice of India owing to the split decision given by the bench of J. Chelameswar and A.M. Sapre, JJ on the issue that whether Article 142 of the Constitution be invoked in order to allow the appellants to complete their education to satisfy the demands of justice as the future of 634 students was at stakes.

Chelameswar, J, considering that the knowledge of these 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. However, he added that it would serve the larger public interests, by making the appellants serve the nation for a period of five years as and when they become qualified doctors, without any regular salary and attendant benefits of service under the State, nor any claim for absorption into the service of the State subject of course to the payment of some allowance (either in cash or kind) for their survival. He also suggested that they serve the Indian Armed Services and that they be handed over the certificates of their medical degrees only after they complete the abovementioned five years.

Sapre, J., on the other hand, said that no case was made out for passing any directions under Article 142 of the Constitution as grant of any equitable relief may be construed as awarding premium to the appellants of what they did. It would demoralize the meritorious students who could not secure the admission on their merit due to the appellants’ entry in the Colleges by illegal means. He, however, said that the State may consider permitting the appellants and other candidates alike the appellants to appear in the competitive examination whenever it is held and consider granting age relaxation to those candidates who crossed the age limit, if prescribed. He was of the view that it is the collective responsibility of the Government (Central/States), educational bodies/Institutions to ponder over and evolve a uniform policy in a comprehensive manner to firmly deal with such activities in the larger public good. [Nidhi Kaim v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 547, decided on 12.05.2016]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: Deliberating upon the grim situation that how the courts have to face cases related to juvenile crimes, matrimonial disputes, and other disputes revealing the moral depreciation in the society, the bench of R. Mahadevan, J., directed the Government to include 108 Chapters/ Adhigarams of Thirukkural (Arathupal and Porutpal) in the curriculum of students between VI- XII Standards in the syllabus for the next academic year, because one of the important objective of education is to build a nation of moral values.

The petitioner, a retired government official contended that in the recent times there has been great deal of moral degradation amongst the youth, which is visible in the rising number of matrimonial disputes, emergence of old age homes etc. The petitioner further added that as a senior citizen it gives him considerable agony to see the moral standards of the society falling so rapidly. The petitioner via his counsel A. Saravanakumar, presented disturbing statistics of juvenile crime rates from 2011. The petitioner therefore stated that inculcating the principles of Thirukkural in school syllabus will have a positive impact on the psyche of students. The respondents however argued that neither the petitioner has a vested right to seek such a change in the syllabus, nor the State has any duty to accede to the request of the petitioner.

On basis of the issues raised and the contentions forwarded, the question that came up before the Court was that whether the state is under any obligation to restructure the syllabus by including Thirukkural under the compelling circumstances and whether the petitioner has a right to seek such relief. The Court observed that the petitioner has sought the writ of mandamus to protect his right to live in an orderly State which according to the petitioner threatened by the increasing number of offences. The Court discussed at length about the Directive Principles and Fundamental Duties enshrined by the Constitution and the principles of Thirukkural. Stating that “where there is a will, there is way” the Government can include 108 Adhigarams of first 2 chapters of Thirukkural in a phased manner, because the Constitution imposes an obligation upon the States to frame policies to preserve the fundamental rights of the citizens. Furthermore Articles 21A and 24 of the Constitution protects the right of the children by mandating the State to frame policies to provide education. The Court further observed that moral values are more important and if they are lost then there is no stopping to the moral degradation of an individual. The principles of Thirukkural would introduce a student to various facets of life and will equip them to deal with them and would give them the “inner strength to withstand any storm”. [S.Rajarathinam v. Secretary to the Government, 2016 SCC OnLine Mad 2373, decided on 26.04.2016]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court– Dismissing the petition filed by the petitioner institute against the order wherein respondent 2 had directed the petitioners to jointly and severally refund the fees taken from private respondents, the bench of Tarlok S. Chauhan, J., observed that private institutions cannot be permitted to operate like money minting institutions; rather it has to be ensured that they comply with all the rules, regulations and norms before they are granted permission to operate within the State of Himachal Pradesh. The innocent people of this State cannot be allowed to be duped any further. The Court referred to State of Maharashtra v. Vikas Sahebrao Roundale, (1992) 4 SCC 435 wherein the Supreme Court observed ‘that the field of education had become a fertile, perennial and profitable business with the least capital outlay in some States and that societies and individuals were establishing such institutions without complying with the statutory requirements’.

The impugned orders were challenged on the ground that respondent 2 had no jurisdiction to entertain the petition, as the dispute relating to Sikkim Manipal University was beyond its territorial jurisdiction and further that the private respondents did not fall within the definition of students, therefore, also their claim before the respondent No. 2 was not maintainable. On the other hand Respondent 2 averred that the petitioner was not authorized to act as franchisee or affiliated Institute of Sikkim Manipal University, therefore, it could not have collected any fee from the students.

After perusal of the relevant guidelines and statutes, the Court noted that the parent institutions shall not establish their study centers/regional centers outside their jurisdiction as specified in the parent institutions Act/MOA. The Court expressed its concern that the mushrooming of private universities has only led to a cut-throat competition leading to misleading advertisements which can only be termed to be persuasive, manipulative and exploitative to attract the widest possible audience. The Court also observed that private institutions have been raising their assets after illegally collecting funds like building fund, development fund, infrastructure fund etc. It is high time that these practices are stopped forthwith and there is a crack down on such institutions. Every education institution is accountable and no one can be assumed to be above the law. The Court directed that the respondent-State should act responsibly by conducting a fresh investigation of all these institutions. [Business Institute of Management Studies v. State of Himachal Pradesh, 2016 SCC OnLine HP 472, decided 27.04.2016]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Clearing the confusion over holding the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in pursuance of Notifications dated 21.12.2010 issued by the Medical Council of India and the Dental Council of India, the Court held that NEET should be held and notwithstanding any order passed by any Court earlier with regard to not holding NEET, this order shall operate.

It was contended that in view of the judgment passed in Christian Medical College, Vellore Vs. Union of India, (2014) 2 SCC 305, it would not be proper to hold NEET and this order should not affect pending matters. The 3 judge bench of A.R. Dave, Shiva Kirti Singh and Adarsh K. Goel, JJ rejected the said contention and said that the said judgment has already been recalled in Medical Council of India v. Christian Medical College, Vellore, (2016) 4 SCC 342 and therefore, the Notifications dated 21.12.2010 are in operation as on today. [Sankalp Charitable Trust v. Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 366decided on 28.04.2016]