The Allahabad High Court observed that where enquiry is not against any individual but against a large number of persons, it is not always necessary to hold detailed enquiry against each one of them.

The Court observed thus in an intra court appeal under Chapter VIII Rule 5 of the Rules of the Court filed against the judgment of the Single Judge by which the writ petition filed by the college student was allowed and the order of rusticating him was quashed.

A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta and Justice Donadi Ramesh held, “It is now well settled that violation of natural justice is not a straight jacket formula but depends on facts of each case. Where enquiry is not against any particular individual but broad based and involves a large number of persons, it is not always necessary to hold detailed enquiry against each individual. If on examination of facts, it emerges that a fair procedure has been adopted without causing any material prejudice to any person then the courts have declined to interfere.”

The Bench referred to the case of Bihar School Examination Board v. Subhash Chandra Sinha and others 1970 (1) SCC 648 in which the enquiry was on charge of mass-cheating and it was found not necessary to give opportunity of hearing to individual candidates.

Senior Advocate G.K. Singh appeared on behalf of the appellant while Senior Advocate Ashok Khare appeared on behalf of the respondents.

Factual Background -

The second respondent i.e., the student was admitted to B. Tech Course (Computer Science) in the Amity University i.e., the appellant. He cleared six semesters till April 2019 and in 7th semester, he was suspended with an immediate effect by the University for an act of indiscipline by indulging in marking of unauthorised and fake ODs (On Duty) attendances. Thereafter, the University conducted disciplinary proceedings against him and several others.

The said student was rusticated from the University for 6 months and being aggrieved by this, he preferred an appeal to the Vice Chancellor. The appeal was disposed of by reducing the period of rustication from 6 months to 3 months. He then preferred a writ petition before the High Court, which was allowed by the Single Judge. The University was directed to issue a fresh marksheet to the student, treating him as a regular student and to evaluate him out of 100 marks. Hence, the University approached the Division Bench.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of the counsel noted, “In the instant case, we do not find any such violation or unfair-play which may vitiate the entire disciplinary proceedings albeit there may have been certain procedural lapses. One fact which has a material bearing is that the second respondent has already passed the course, therefore, even if we think of doubting the correctness of the procedure, in normal course, the matter requires to be remitted to the concerned authority for resuming the enquiry from the stage it stood vitiated. This would visit the student with far more serious consequences.”

The Court added that the indiscipline was of such great magnitude that the University despite having taken very lenient view in the interest of students, could not have absolved the students and given them clean chit as it would have sent a wrong message.

“We feel that it would be impracticable as well as inequitous to direct holding of fresh enquiry. In Shivam Kant vs. Union of India , the direction of this Court to hold fresh enquiry against the student of IIT Kanpur, as previous enquiry was found to be violative of principles of natural justice, was not approved by the Supreme Court taking into consideration the fact that the student had already suffered and any further enquiry would prolong his agony”, it said.

Furthermore, the Court said that the University acted arbitrarily. It remarked that in matters relating to students, while on one hand, the University has to ensure maintenance of discipline to ensure a conducive academic atmosphere, but at the same time it is also obliged to adopt reformative approach which is critical for bringing back undisciplined students to the main stream.

“… we do not agree with the conclusion arrived at by learned Single Judge that the enquiry stood completely vitiated and should be treated as non est in the eyes of law. We having considered the facts of the case and the present enquiry in the broader context, feel persuaded to uphold the same”, it observed.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the appeal and refused to interfere with the ultimate directions issued by the Single Judge.

Cause Title- Amity University and 4 Others v. State of UP and 3 Others (Neutral Citation: 2024:AHC:12053-DB)


Appellants: Advocate Rahul Chaudhary

Respondents: Advocates Ajal Krishnan, Rijwan Ali Akhtar, and Siddharth Khare.

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