In the High Court of Allahabad AIR 1996 All 244 Petitioner Birla Institute of Technology Mesra Ranchi Respondents Yamini Shukla & ors. Date of Judgement 01.11.1995 Bench Justice Brijesh Kumar; Justice K.C. Bhargava
The Principle of equality under Article 14 of the Constitution is not the uniformity of treatment to all in all respects. It only means that all persons similarly circumstanced shall be treated alike both in the privileges conferred and liabilities imposed by the laws. Equal law should be applied to all in the same situation, and there should be no discrimination between one person and another.
Background of Study:
The landmark Article, Article 14 of the Constitution of India states the provision of equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. This equal protection of law given in the Article has been derived from Section 1 of the 14th amendment Act of the United States Constitution.
Article 226, on the other hand, confers writ jurisdiction on Supreme Court and High Courts, respectively for enforcement/protection of fundamental rights of an Individual. A writ is an instrument/ order of the Court (Supreme Court or High Courts) by which the Court directs an Individual or official or authority to do or not do an act.
Constitutional and statutory provisions discussed:
Article 14 and 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950
- The petitioner Yamini Shukla (respondent 1) in the appeal has preferred a writ petition for quashing the selection of respondents 3 to 16 in the petition to the Master of Computer Application full-time Degree Course 1995-96 (MCA) and to direct respondent No. 2, namely, the Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi, to admit the petitioner in the MCA course of 1995-96.
- According to the petitioner she appeared in the qualifying examination for admission to MCA Full Time Degree Course 1995-96 of Birla Institute of Technology which was held at Lucknow in the month of June 1990. The petitioner also appeared in Part-Ill examination of B.Sc. from the Lucknow University in the same year.
- On the basis of the written examination, the call letter was issued to the petitioner for interview dt. 1-8-1995.The petitioner’s rank in the written examination was 26. An interview was held on 16-10-1995 at Ranchi on the campus of the Institute where she appeared in the interview on 16-10-1995 and submitted the original certificates.
- Subsequently, a list of candidates who were admitted to the MCA course was displayed on the Notice Board of the Administrative Department of the Institute at Ranchi and the petitioner’s name was missing from that list.
- It was alleged that the candidates who ranked below to the petitioners have been admitted to the MCA course while the petitioner has been deprived of the admission without any cause being shown to the petitioner.
- A counter-affidavit was filed on behalf of opposite party No. 2, namely, the Birla Institute of Technology, alleging that the petitioner did not possess the requisite qualification at the relevant time for admission to the MCA course of 1995-96. It has been mentioned in the brochure which was supplied to the applicants that the candidate must be a graduate with mathematics/ statistics as one of the subjects and obtaining at least 50% marks in the aggregate.
- Later on, it has been alleged, that at the time of applying for admission to the MCA course, the petitioner had not acquired the requisite qualification. It is further alleged that to accommodate the petitioner, she was allowed to appear in the written examination at Lucknow as it was specifically mentioned in the brochure those who are appearing in their qualifying examination can also apply subject to publication of their result by July-August, 1995.
- It is further alleged that the petitioner could not produce the graduate degree certificate at the time of the interview and, therefore, her application was rejected and she was not given admission to the MCA course.
- It is submitted that the petitioner had cleared well both in the written examination and interview. Therefore, she got 13th position in the merit list but the admission was refused as stated above on the ground that she did not possess the qualification for admission at the time of interview.
- A rejoinder affidavit was filed by the petitioner mentioning therein that she had applied to the University of Lucknow for an early result. This application was moved on 12th August 1995, a copy of which is present.
- As per the brochure, the petitioner was allowed to file the mark-sheet by the end of July-August, 1995 and the candidature of the petitioner could not have been rejected oil 17th of August, 1995 when the result was displayed on the notice board of the Institute.
- The appellant had received the result of the graduate degree examination of the petitioner in a sealed envelope addressed Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi. The petitioner had also indicated to the Selection Committee that her result of B.Sc. Part III examination is likely to be out in a week or ten days.
- After the declaration of the result, the petitioner further met Dr. P.K. Mohanti, Professor and Head of the Department of Computer Science Engineering, and asked him the reason for her not being included in the merit list.
- Additionally, in another similar case admission has been made for a Miss Ritu Agarwal in spite of the fact that the result of B.Sc. Part-III Examination had not been declared and the mark-sheet was not produced at the time of the interview.
- It has also been mentioned that in the previous year 1993-94 admission was given to a candidate whose mark-sheet was not available at the time of interview and even the results were not declared by that time.
- When the petitioner’s father met the Vice-Chancellor on 19-8-1995 it was not disclosed or indicated that the petitioner had not been admitted because she had failed to submit her qualifying examination result at the time of the interview.
The petitioner had received a communication only on 1-9-1995 and by this communication, for the first time, the petitioner was informed that although she was eligible on the basis of merit, she was not admitted to the course as the result of B.Sc. IIIrd year examination had not been declared by that time
- If there is any maintenance of the writ petition in this Court and the jurisdiction (the entire cause of action took place at Ranchi and the Court at Lucknow had no jurisdiction to entertain the petition.)
- It was a condition precedent that the petitioner should have cleared the qualifying examination before appearing for the interview. Since she failed to obtain required certification her candidature was rejected.
- A reply was filed to the rejoinder affidavit by the appellant-opposite party No. 2. It was denied that the father of the petitioner ever met the Vice-Chancellor on 19-8-1995.
- It was denied that information in respect of sending the mark-sheet was ever communicated to the appellant.
- It was further alleged that with respect to the case of Miss Ritu Agarwal from the Garhwal University it has to be mentioned that she appeared in the B.Sc. Part-III examination, and she gave a written undertaking at the time of the interview that she will submit her B.Sc. Part-III examination shortly and The Controller of Examination had received the confidential mark-sheet shortly.
- It is further alleged that at the time of the interview, the petitioner was told that the mark-sheet was not submitted by her at that time. When this fact was disclosed to the petitioner, no request was made by the petitioner to the Interview Board nor any undertaking was given that the mark-sheet will be furnished in a sealed envelope by the Controller of Examinations
- The Court held that a court will have jurisdiction if a part of the cause of action arose within the territorial jurisdiction of the said court.
- The term cause of action will not mean that only the last link of the chain is to be taken as to confer jurisdiction on a particular case. It means the bundle of facts which is necessary to be proved to entitle the plaintiff to a decree or order [i]. Here, the last act against which the petitioner is aggrieved was the interview which was held at Ranchi.
- The court also reiterated that according to two clauses of Art. 226 of the Constitution it is clear that a 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 which gives the fundamental rights. It can also do so if the cause of action, (wholly/partly), had risen in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction
- So, the entrance examination was held at Lucknow for selection of candidates to MCA Course by the appellant and as the process of examination started at Lucknow a part of the cause of action arose at Lucknow. The entrance examination is, therefore, the first step for admission to an MCA course. A candidate can be called for an interview only when he qualifies in the entrance examination.
- The material facts, specifically the brochure given at the time of admission had no such indication that the Bachelor’s Degree should have been acquired by a candidate who has taken the entrance examination either on the date of application or on the date when the candidate appears for interview. It went on to show that those students who have not even acquired the degree of the qualifying examination can also appear subject to the publication of qualifying results by July-August, 1995. This meant that the qualifying examination could have been passed by a candidate by any date before the end of July-August, 1995. It did not that the result of the qualifying examination should have been published or the candidate should have acquired the Bachelor’s degree by the date on which he appears before the Interview Board.
- The cause of action would arise at a place where an order is made and also at a place where its consequences fall on the person concerned, meaning thereby that were a part of the cause of action also arose, the Court at that place will have jurisdiction to entertain a writ petition.
- A person can choose the forum where a part of the cause of action has arisen notwithstanding the fact that a part of the cause of action has also arisen in another part of the Court.
- When once the Brochure gives an option for submitting proof of qualifying examination by the end of August 1995 that facility cannot be curtailed by the interview letter i.e.when the petitioner acted on a previous assurance it cannot be curtailed by any other subsequent act of the respondent.
- The court stressed the notion and the pragmatism of universal excellence through equality of opportunity for education across the nation and stated that education is part of our founding faith and the effort must be to select the best and the most meritorious students for admission to technical institutions. Moreover, it stated that it would be against national interest to admit less meritorious students in medical colleges or other institutions when more meritorious students are available.
The Court held that there was a certain arbitrariness in the selection of the candidate and stressed upon the philosophy and pragmatism of universal excellence through equality of opportunity for education and advancement across the nation as a part of our founding faith and constitutional creed.[ii] The court also held that since it is a specialized course, the authorities concerned must always endeavor to select the most suitable and meritorious persons.
Subsequently, the appeal was dismissed and the appellants were asked to admit the petitioner with reasonable facilities to cover the lost period of the semester.
“The views of the authors are personal“
[i]Ambika Saran Singh v. Election Commission of India, AIR 1972 Pat 332.
[ii]Dr. Ajay Kumar Agarwal v. State of U. P., MANU/SC/0136/1991.