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Law does not necessarily require the person to be burdened with such harsh consequences of an error, without regard to facts and circumstances of the case: Delhi High Court

Some degree of administrative flexibility can be exercised to enable him to pursue an educational opportunity in a situation where neither the institution nor any other candidate would be prejudiced thereby. This was said in the case of Adil Sajeer Ansar v University Of Delhi & Anr [W.P.(C) 5392/2020] by  Mr. Justice Prateek Jalan in High Court of Delhi.

The facts of the case are that the petitioner applied for admission to the MBA Programme (2020-21) in the University of Delhi. He appeared for (CAT) exam, and was provisionally selected in the Other Backward Caste Category. He made a typographical error while submitting the required documents to the University and added an extra ‘a’ and sent the documents to the wrong mail address. Later, he realized the error he had committed and therefore, wrote to the University but his request was not acceded to because the deadline has passed. He thereafter made various further representations to the Dean of the Department, the MBA Admissions Office and Dean of Students Welfare explaining his predicament which did not elicit a response. Hence, the present petition before the High Court.

The petitioner contended that he had erroneously sent the documents to an incorrect e-mail address within the time stipulated by the University and had corrected his error on the same day at 9:15 PM. Secondly, it was contended that the University’s failure to consider the petitioner’s case in these circumstances was unreasonable and arbitrary and a sympathetic view ought to have been taken.

The University, respondents relied upon the contents of the counter affidavit and the additional affidavit to contend that the University was duty bound to conform to the conditions mentioned in the communication sent to the petitioner with regard to submission of documents. Relying upon the judgment of State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors. vs. Chaudhari Ran Beer Singh & Anr [ (2008) 5 SCC 550] they said that  University cannot be directed by a writ of mandamus to disobey the law. He lastly urged that the writ court ought not to substitute its own judgment for that of the administrative authority. Thirdly, they relied upon Sections 17 and 32 of the Delhi University Act, 1922 to submit that the faculty in question is an “authority” of the University, entitled to make regulations in the circumstances mentioned in Section 32.

Assailing the decision of the Admissions Committee regarding the petitioners case, the Court noted that “the consideration of the petitioner’s case by the Committee was also perfunctory, at best, and that the minutes on record do not reveal any application of mind to particular circumstances, but a blanket decision to disallow all late submissions, and thus stick to the view taken by the admissions team”.

After noting that the approach of the University is unduly harsh, the Court said that “The petitioner provided documents to support his contention that he had in fact sent the documents within time, albeit to the wrong e-mail address. He corrected his mistake as soon as the University informed him that his documents have not been received, and within a few hours of the deadline having passed”. Hence, the Court allowed the petition.

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