Courts cannot discharge orders purely on sympathy: Supreme Court of India

Courts are not allowed to issue orders on a sympathetic basis when the said parties are involved in activities that are illegal and such an activity has put other people at a disadvantage. This was held by the three judge bench comprising of Hon’ble Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Hon’ble Justice B. R. Gavai and Hon’ble Justice Krishna Murari in the case of Abdul Ahad and Ors. vs. Union of India and Ors. [REVIEW PETITION (CIVIL) NOS.1835­1836 OF 2020 IN I.A. NO.183249 OF 2019] on the 17th of August, 2021 before the Hon’ble Supreme Court at New Delhi.

The brief facts of the case are, the review petitioners appeared in the NEET exam and cleared the same and were eligible to get admission in the MBBS course. Vide Notification dated 31.8.2016, the State of Uttar Pradesh issued a direction for conducting centralized counselling for admission to MBBS/BDS course in all colleges/universities in the State of Uttar Pradesh, including private colleges and minority institutions and further prescribed the schedule and procedure for counselling, reservation, eligibility criteria for admission, etc. Vide another Notification dated 2.9.2016, the State of Uttar Pradesh directed that 50% of the sanctioned intake of private institutions shall be reserved for students who had domicile of State of Uttar Pradesh. The said direction was issued in respect of all the private institutions. It appears that in the interregnum, the original writ petitioners had conducted their private counselling despite Notifications issued by the State of Uttar Pradesh regarding common counselling. According to the review petitioners, they appeared for First Year Professional MBBS examination and cleared the same. However, Glocal Medical College did not conduct the examination for the 2nd year MBBS and further the classes and practicals were also suspended by the College. According to the review petitioners, this gave them a cause of action to file Writ Petition No.19399 of 2019 before the Allahabad High Court. According to the review petitioners, only during the hearing of the said petition, they came to know about the discharge order dated 27.1.2017 issued by MCI.

The learned counsel for the petitioners submitted that, he review petitioners were duly qualified to be admitted inasmuch as, they had cleared the NEET examination. He further submitted that the review petitioners were admitted through the counselling conducted by the Glocal Medical College. Not only that, but they have also cleared the 1st year and 2nd year examination. It is therefore submitted that it will not be in the interest of justice to throw the review petitioners at this point of time. The learned counsel for the state submitted that, the review petitioners were admitted by backdoor entry. It is submitted that their admission is the result of collusion between the Glocal Medical College and the review petitioners. It is further submitted that Glocal Medical College, being very well aware about the Notification dated 22.8.2016, had conducted private counselling, which was not permissible in law and as such, the review petitioners, who entered through backdoor entry, are not entitled to any equitable relief.

The learned judges heard the submission of both the parties and relied on the judgement in Gurdeep Singh v. State of J & K and Ors. 1995 Supp (1) SCC 188, wherein it was held that, “What remains to be considered is whether the selection of Respondent 6 should be quashed. We are afraid, unduly lenient view of the courts on the basis of human consideration in regard to such excesses on the part of the authorities, has served to create an impression that even where an advantage is secured by stratagem and trickery, it could be rationalised in courts of law. Courts do and should take human and sympathetic view of matters. That is the very essence of justice. But considerations of judicial policy also dictate that a tendency of this kind where advantage gained by illegal means is permitted to be retained will jeopardise the purity of selection process itself; engender cynical disrespect towards the judicial process and in the last analysis embolden errant authorities and candidates into a sense of complacency and impunity that gains achieved by such wrongs could be retained by an appeal to the sympathy of the court. Such instances reduce the jurisdiction and discretion of courts into private benevolence. This tendency should be stopped. The selection of Respondent 6 in the sports category was, on the material placed before us, thoroughly unjustified. He was not eligible in the sports category. He would not be entitled on the basis of his marks, to a seat in general merit category. Attribution of eligibility long after the selection process was over, in our opinion, is misuse of power. While we have sympathy for the predicament of Respondent 6, it should not lose sight of the fact that the situation is the result of his own making. We think in order to uphold the purity of academic processes, we should quash the selection and admission of Respondent 6. We do so, though, however, reluctantly”.

The review petitions were dismissed by holding that, “In the backdrop of this legal position laid down in various judgments of this Court, it was not possible to consider the cases of the review petitioners sympathetically. Since the university had conducted private counselling which was contrary to the orders of the High Court, such admissions are illegal. The Notification issued by the State of Uttar Pradesh on the basis of the law laid down by this Court clearly provided that the admissions were to be done only through the centralized admission process. Glocal Medical College in contravention of the said Notification conducted private counselling, which was not at all permissible in law. The students cannot be said to be ignorant about the Notification issued by the State of Uttar Pradesh.”

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