The Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has recently dismissed a Jaipur-based University's plea for reimbursement of the expenses incurred by it with regard to tuition fee, hostel fee, mess charges, cost of books and other incidental expenses after admitting the students from Jammu & Kashmir under the Prime Minister's Special Scholarship Scheme for J&K students.

The Bench of Justice M A Chowdhary held that merely because the students admitted in the petitioner-University were from UT of J&K, would not give any cause of action to file the writ petition before the High Court and observed that "the High Court can exercise the power to issue directions, orders or writs for the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights conferred by Part III of the Constitution or for any other purpose if the cause of action, wholly or in part, had arisen within the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction, notwithstanding that the seat of the Government or authority or the residence of the person against whom the direction, order or writ is issued, is not within the said territories."

In this case, the writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution was filed by Suresh Gyan University, Jaipur, Rajasthan, for directions to the Government of India and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), New Delhi for sanction of the amount of scholarship comprising tuition fee, hostel fee, mess charges and other incidental charges including consequential renewals till the completion of the course in favour of the 271 left-over students for the academic session 2014- 15 as per the scale prescribed in guidelines of Prime Ministers Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) and as per the approved fee structure of the petitioner-University.

Advocate Aarohi Bhalla appeared for the petitioner.

DSGI T.M. Shamsi appeared for the Centre (respondent no. 1) and submitted in it's reply that the students from J&K were required to apply under the scheme on the AICTE portal and only those eligible students were to be considered for award of scholarship under the scheme, who were within the merit list and had been allotted colleges through centralized counselling or had taken admission on their own in college/University either approved under Section 12 B of UGC Act or recognized by AICTE or by other regulatory authority and their application forwarded by the Government of J&K.

It was further submitted that the scholarship of eligible students of the academic year 2014-15 of the petitioner-University, had already been released to the advantage of eligible persons by relaxing Condition No.9 and that 271 left over students have not been found eligible for scholarship under the Special Scholarship Scheme for J&K due to "not in merit", courses not approved by AICTE or either for other reasons.

Advocate Bilal A. Malla appeared for AICTE- the implementing Agency (respondent no.2) and contended that the petitioner had no locus standi to fie the writ petition as the Prime Ministers Special Scholarship Scheme meant for the students of J&K and that the scholarship was to be granted to the students and not to the University or a College.

It was also alleged that the litigation was sponsored by the petitioner-University and that its conduct was highly objectionable as in the first instance it admitted the students of its own without proper permission of the respondent - concerned authority and after completion of their courses the petitioner-University filed the writ petition to obtain the wrongful gain.

Considering the facts and the objections raised by the respondent, the Court observed that the cause of action could not be said to have wholly or partly accrued within the jurisdiction of this Court.

The Court observed that "It is well settled that the expression "cause of action" means that bundle of facts which the petitioner must prove, if traversed, to entitle him to a judgment in his favour. The cause of action has no relation whatever to the defense which may be set up by the defendant, nor does it depend upon the character of the relief prayed for by the plaintiff. It refers entirely to the ground setforth in the plaint as the cause of action upon which the plaintiff asks the Court to arrive at a conclusion in his favour."

As a result, the Writ Petition filed by the petitioner- University was held to be non-maintainable for lack of jurisdiction.

Accordingly, the petition was dismissed.

Cause Title- Suresh Gyan Vihar University v. Union of India & Ors.

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