CASE TITLE: Prakhar Nagar vs. State of UP & 4 Others 2023 LiveLaw (AB) 244 [Writ C No. 21339/2020]
DECIDED ON: 02.08.2023
CORAM: Hon’ble Ajay Bhanot,J
The Allahabad High Court has emphasized that universities should refrain from implementing solely punitive measures towards students. According to the court, students, being young adults, deserve a chance for rehabilitation and personal growth.
The petitioner, a student pursuing B.Tech (CSE), faced accusations of various acts of misconduct, which included engaging in morally questionable behavior, involvement in corruption or bribery, disrupting the university’s academic operations, and actions related to exams and tests. In the beginning, the petitioner was expelled from the institution for six months; however, this duration was lessened to three months upon appeal.
The legal representative for the petitioner contended that the allegations made against the petitioner were unclear and lacked specificity. There was no supporting evidence provided to substantiate the decision to expel the petitioner. Furthermore, it was argued that the punishment imposed was disproportionate. Additionally, it was highlighted that the petitioner was never officially provided with the charge sheet, which violated the fundamental principles of fairness and justice.
On the other hand, the legal representative for the respondent argued that the punishment was administered following a thorough investigation. Given the seriousness of the charges, the decision to expel the petitioner was justifiable.
CASE ANALYSIS AND DECISION
The Court noted that the respondent university was incapable of disproving the allegation of disregarding principles of natural justice. The unfavorable evidence on record failed to substantiate the accusations against the petitioner. The Court expressed, “The harm caused to the petitioner due to the respondents’ adopted procedure is irreversible.”
“The structure of disciplinary measures in a higher education institution is an essential aspect of its management. The system of penalties within an organization must combine fundamental components to uphold order in the University, which contributes to its academic environment, and a rehabilitative strategy that plays a crucial role in shaping students. The fundamental aspect of a proficient disciplinary system is achieving equilibrium between acting as a deterrent and offering the potential for reform.”
Drawing from a prior verdict, Anant Narayan Mishra v. Union of India, the Court upheld the stance that students shouldn’t exclusively face punitive measures. If any punitive action is taken, it should encompass a reformatory perspective.
While granting the student’s plea and annulling the punishment, the Court declared that students, as young adults, should be granted an opportunity to rectify any mistakes and embark on a fresh journey with a clean record.
“The imposition of excessive punishment undermines the validity of punitive measures,” the Court stated.
Furthermore, the Court endorsed the request for the issuance of a revised marks sheet that reflects the petitioner’s performance assessed out of 100 marks. The Court also ordered the removal of the “Reappearance September 2020” notation and the removal of the B Cap on the petitioner’s earned marks.
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Written by- Mansi Malpani