5 Jun 2016

One can give two exams at the same time: Supreme Court

A very interesting case came up before the Supreme Court recently. The Appellant before it cleared class 12 exam in 2002. He thereafter obtained a Bachelor's degree in 2005 and Master's degree in 2007. Thereafter he obtained another degree in 2011. However at this time his class 12 results were cancelled after nine years of having given the exam. The reason accorded for this punitive action was that the Appellant had simultaneously appeared in class 10 examination (in 2002) with another examination board and in view of the concerned authorities "it was not permissible for the appellant to appear in two examinations conducted by two different Boards simultaneously".

The Appellant challenged the order of cancellation at various forums, to be unsuccessful at all stages. In its decision in Kuldeep Kumar Pathak v. State of Uttar Pradesh AIR 2016 SC 251 the Supreme Court, however, overturned the rationale extended by the authorities. In a short and crisp decision the Court has pointed out that there are no regulations of the concerned examination board which prohibit a person from given two examinations at the same time and therefore there is no violation in having done so.
"6. Before us, Mr. Pradeep Kant, learned senior counsel for the appellant has made a neat legal argument. He submits that though the impugned judgment proceeds on the basis that appearing in two examinations simultaneously for the same year is violation of the Regulations of the Board, this reason given by the High Court is clearly unsustainable inasmuch as no such Regulation is shown by the Board which prohibited any such candidate to appear in two examinations in the same year. The learned senior counsel further argued that the impugned order passed by the respondents for confiscating his Certificate of Intermediate exam was, otherwise also, contrary to the principles of natural justice inasmuch as no show cause notice and opportunity of hearing was given to the appellant before passing such an order, which was passed belatedly after a period of nine years from the passing of the said examination by the appellant.
7. We are of the opinion that both the submissions of the learned senior counsel are valid in law and have to prevail. The High Court has been influenced by the argument of the respondents that simultaneous appearance in two examinations by the appellant in the same year was 'contrary to the Regulations'. However, no such Regulation has been mentioned either by the learned Single Judge or the Division Bench. Curiously, no such Regulation has been pointed out even by the respondents. On our specific query to the learned counsel for the respondents to this effect, he expressed his inability to show any such Regulation or any other rule or provision contained in the U.P. Intermediate Education Act, 1921 or Supplementary Regulations of 1976 framed under the aforesaid Act or in any other governing Regulations. Therefore, the entire foundation of the impugned judgment of the High Court is erroneous. 
8. It is also pertinent to note that the appellant's intermediate examination and result thereof was not in question before the U.P. Board. No illegality in the admission in that class has been pointed out by the respondents. The alleged charge of simultaneously appearing in two examinations, one of the U.P. Board and other of the Sanskrit Board, was with respect to Class X and equivalent examination which did not relate to admission in intermediate course. The only provision for canceling the said admission is contained in Regulation (1) of Chapter VI-B. It details the procedure for passing the order of punishment canceling intermediate results and, inter alia, prescribes that a committee consisting of three different members is to be constituted and entrusted with the responsibility of looking into and disposing of cases relating to unfair means and award appropriate penalty as specified in the Regulations itself. However, there is no allegation of any unfair means adopted by the appellant in the instant case and, therefore, that Regulation has no applicability. Even otherwise, no such committee was constituted. Therefore, having taken admission in Intermediate on the basis of past certificate issued by a separate Board, which was recognised, and not on the basis of the result of Class X of the U.P. Board, the appellant derived no advantage from his examination of the U.P. Board while seeking admission in Intermediate course. Thus, from any angle the matter is to be looked into, the impugned orders dated April 20, 2011 and May 10, 2011 passed by the respondents are null and void, apart from the fact that they are in violation of the principles of natural justice."

No comments: