The High Court of Bombay passed a judgement on 24 May 2023. In the case of ATHARVA MILIND DESAI Vs JOINT ADMISSION BOARD IIT THR. CHAIRPERSON IN WRIT PETITION NO. 6239 OF 2023 which was passed by a division bench comprising of HONOURABLE SHRI JUSTICE ABHAY AHUJA and HONOURABLE SHRI JUSTICE M. M. SATHAYE the court had to decide on a petition filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. The petitioner sought directions to the sole respondent to accept their examination form and fees for the JEE Advance examination. The petitioner claimed that due to network connectivity glitches, they were unable to fill the examination form within the stipulated time frame. The court carefully examined the arguments presented by both parties and the relevant documents before reaching a decision. This blog post aims to analyse the judgment and its implications.
The petitioner had qualified the HSC examination in 2022 and was preparing to appear for the JEE Advance examination. However, they encountered network connectivity issues that prevented them from submitting the examination form within the prescribed time frame. The petitioner argued that since they were eligible to appear for the exam based on their previous qualification, they should be allowed to participate, considering their strong percentile score. They also mentioned residing in a rural area with frequent internet and power outages, which further hindered their registration process.
The respondent, the organizing institute for the JEE Advanced Examination, contended that the examination process was strictly governed by an information brochure. According to the brochure, candidates had to register online within a specified time frame. The respondent presented evidence that the petitioner did not log in during the designated period but only successfully logged in on the day after the registration deadline. The respondent argued that making an exception for the petitioner would set a bad precedent and undermine the sanctity of timelines and the merit selection process.
The court carefully considered the arguments put forth by both parties and examined the relevant documents, including the petitioner’s login details and the information brochure. It acknowledged the significance of technical institutes like IITs and NITs and the importance of discipline in the education system. The court noted that the registration period provided by the respondent was eight full days, which should have been sufficient for all candidates to complete their registration. It also observed that the petitioner successfully logged in on the day after the deadline, without any explanation for the delay.
The court emphasized that the petitioner had not utilized the grievance redressal mechanism outlined in the information brochure during the registration period. Furthermore, the petitioner’s failure to contact the respondent’s designated channels for grievance or query resolution indicated a lack of diligence on their part. Considering these factors, the court concluded that the rules governing the JEE Advanced Examination were binding on all participants, including the petitioner.
The court referenced the Supreme Court case of Maharshi Dayanand University v. Surjeet Kaur (2010) 11 SCC 159, which highlighted the principle that a court cannot direct an authority to violate its own rules and regulations. The court also mentioned the Delhi High Court case of Pallavi Sharma v. College of Vocational Studies 2015 SCC Online Del 10249, which followed the aforementioned principle.
After careful deliberation, the court dismissed the petition, stating that it was not a fit case to exercise its extraordinary writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. The court held that maintaining discipline and adhering to the rules and regulations were crucial in the interest of lakhs of aspiring meritorious students across the country. It stressed that its direction should not result in authorities violating their own rules.
This judgment highlights the importance of adhering to rules and regulations in educational processes such as examination registrations. The court’s decision underscores the need for candidates to exercise due diligence and utilize the available mechanisms for grievance resolution within the specified time frames. While sympathizing with the petitioner’s circumstances, the court prioritized the larger interest of maintaining discipline and fairness in the selection process for technical institutes. This judgment sets a precedent for upholding the sanctity of timelines and rules in similar cases, ensuring a fair and transparent examination system.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY VETHIKA D PORWAL, BMS COLLEGE OF LAW