The petitioner, unfortunately, failed to avail her chances to clear the backlog paper: Calcutta High Court

Burdwan University Examinations Regulations are unambiguous. The rules mention that a backlog paper had to be cleared within three consecutive chances and if the chances are not availed then they shall be considered to have lapsed. The Hon’ble High Court at Calcutta before Hon’ble Justice Amrita Sinha held such an opinion regarding the case of  Safia Khatun Vs. The State of West Bengal & Ors [WPA No. 9902 of 2021].

The facts of the case were associated with the petitioner’s appeal to sit for the backlog exam. The petitioner was a student of a college affiliated with the University of Burdwan. The petitioner was pursuing a three-year degree course, under the 1+1+1 pattern. In 2017 she appeared in BA Part-I Hons. but couldn’t obtain the qualifying marks in BNGG. She consecutively failed to appear in her backlog exam in 2018 and 2019. A representation before the University to appear in the unclear Part-I examination was prayed by the petitioner. The inconsideration of her representation lead her to appeal before the court, filing a writ petition being WPA 10436 of 2020 which stood disposed of by an order dated 21st January 2021. The order dated 31st March 2021 rejected the prayer of the petitioner is impugned in the present writ petition.

The petitioner stated the UGC guidelines which explained the span, a student may be allowed to qualify for a degree. The mentioned guidelines are subject to the Rules and Regulations of the statutory bodies and universities governing the grant of degrees. The learned advocate of the petitioner asserted that the petitioner had completed all her exams except for one exam and that, according to the rules the outer limit to appear for the course was seven years, and the University was ought to allow the petitioner to complete the course.

To support the statement the petitioner referred to the case of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Delhi Airtake Services Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. –vs- State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr.; (2011) 9 SCC 354 paragraphs 126, 129 and 132. The petitioner also two other cases – (i) the judgment delivered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of JK Jute Mill Mazdoor Morcha –vs- Juggilal Kamlapat Jute Mills Co. Ltd.; (2019) 11 SCC 332 paragraph 16. (ii)  an order passed by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in the matter of Pijush Gupta –vs- University of Delhi reported in 1988 0 Supreme Del 337 paragraphs 6-9.

The University submitted that the petitioner for unknown reasons chose not to avail the two extra opportunities to clear her backlog paper. In accordance with the regulations, there is no illegality on the part of the University. The University already had a regulation where it was mentioned that if any of the chances were not availed by the candidate for clearing the backlog papers within the stipulated three consecutive chances and within the seven years’ time period, the chances would be considered to have lapsed, therefore no further chance can be given to the petitioner.

Burdwan University Regulation 4(UG) of Undergraduate Examinations Regulations, 2016 reads as follows: “A regular candidate shall have to complete Part-I, Part-II and Part-III Hons./General examinations within seven consecutive years including his/her original enrolment in Part-I examination subject to the condition that not more than three consecutive chances shall be allowed in each part. If any of the chances mentioned above is not availed of by a candidate within the stipulated period, the chances shall be deemed to have lapsed.”

It was known that the legislature had fixed two-time limits for the completion of the course. Firstly, the time limit for completion of the entire course and secondly the time limit to clear a part of the said course. In the instant case, it appears that the University framed its regulations keeping the interest of students in mind. The Hon’ble Court believed that the rules and regulations of the University of Burdwan were crystal clear and that its the student who failed to appear in her backlog paper to clear the same. 

The Hon’ble High Court at Calcutta before Hon’ble Justice Amrita Sinha considered all the facts and held “… The petitioner, unfortunately, failed to avail her chances to clear the backlog paper. In such a situation no direction can be passed upon the University to permit the petitioner to appear in her backlog paper for clearing the same once again. The writ petition fails and is hereby dismissed.”

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Judgment reviewed by Bipasha Kundu

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