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M. ANANDHAN versus MADURAI KAMARAJ UNIVERSITY

High Court of Madras

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M. Anandhan v. Madurai Kamaraj University - WRIT PETITION NO. 1572 OF 1995 [2002] RD-TN 294 (26 April 2002)



IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS

DATED: 26/04/2002

CORAM

THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE P.K. MISRA

WRIT PETITION NO. 1572 OF 1995

AND

W.M.P.NO. 2518 OF 1995

M. Anandhan .. Petitioner Vs.

1. Madurai Kamaraj University

Rep. by its Registrar

Palkalai Nagar,

Madurai.

2. The Controller of Examinations,

Madurai Kamaraj University,

Madurai.

3. The Principal,

Madurai Law College,

Madurai 20. .. Respondents Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for the issuance of Writ of Mandamus as stated therein. For Petitioner : Mr.P. Rathinam

For Respondents : Mr.S. Jayaraman

:ORDER



The petitioner has prayed for a direction to the respondents to pay a reasonable amount as compensation and further directing them to take appropriate measures to avoid any negligence in the matter relating to conducting of examinations.

2. The petitioner was a student of Madurai Law College from 1987 to 1992. He was to appear in the final examinations which were to commence from 29.5.1992. The petitioner claims that on 28.5.1992 he went to the office of the third respondent for obtaining Hall Ticket, but he was told that the hall ticket was not traceable and he was advised to come in the next day at 1.00 pm. as the examination was scheduled to start at 2.00 pm. The clerk in charge could not trace out the hall ticket even on 29.5.1992 and the petitioner has to approach the Chief Examiner. It is stated that after much persuation and running around the bush, the petitioner was allowed to take the examination at about 2.50 pm. The agony of the petitioner did not end there. After the petitioner had appeared in all the papers, his result was not declared at the time of declaration of results of other candidates and the petitioner discovered that his result was with-held as his internal marks had not been submitted by the third respondent to the University. Thereafter the remedial measures were taken by the third respondent and the result was published 11 days after the publication of results of other candidates. It was stated by the petitioner that even after publication of the results, the marks statement was not sent and the petitioner has to wait for a further period of 4 to 5 months for obtaining the marks statement. The petitioner filed an application before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Madurai against the present respondents as well as the Centre Superintendent. However, the Consumer Forum rejected the application on the ground that as per the decision of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, University would not come within the purview of the Consumer Protection Act. It was further observed in the said case that no deficiency of service has been established in the case of the petitioner. Thereafter, the present writ petition has been filed.

3. A counter affidavit has been filed on behalf of the respondents 1 & 2, namely Madurai Kamaraj University and the Controller of Examinations of such University. However, no counter appears to have been filed by the respondent No.3, namely the Law College, where the petitioner was studying.

In the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the respondents 1 & 2 before the Consumer Forum it has been stated that such a petition is not maintainable and proper Forum for claiming compensation is the Civil Court. While admitting that the petitioner was a student and had paid necessary fees for appearing in the examinations, it has been stated “ . . . It is submitted that hall tickets will be forwarded to the examination centres well in advance and the hall tickets will be issued to the candidates three days before the commencement of the examination. Hence the petitioner ought to have gone to the college to collect his hall ticket 3 days before the commencement of the examination. Had the petitioner went (sic in counter) to the college well in advance, he could have avoided the last minute verification etc. It is submitted that this University along with the application forms is giving ‘ Instructions to Candidates, and the candidates have been asked to collect hall tickets three days before the commencement of examinations’. I submit that the averment that the petitioner was allowed to write his examination only by about 2.50 P.M. on 29.5.92 are all false and the petitioner is put to strict proof of the same. . . . “ It is respectfully submitted that as the petitioner was permitted to write all the examination, he has not suffered.”

It has been further stated while denying the averments made in paragraphs 6 & 7 of the petition:

“ . . . It is submitted that the result of the the petition petitioner could not be declared on 22.07.1992 because the 3rd respondent herein has not forwarded the internal marks scored by the petitioner for L 54 paper. Subsequently, the internal mark was received by this University on and immediately on 01.08.92, the results were declared and Provisional Certificate ws issued to the petitioner on 03.08.92 along with other students whose results were declared on 22.07.1992.”

On the above statement, it has been contended by the respondents that there has been no negligence on the part of the respondents 1 & 2. The respondents 1 & 2 have also referred to non-filing of appeal against the order of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Form and have reiterated that only the Civil Court has jurisdiction in such matters. In the above background, the prayer of the petitioner for payment of compensation is to be examined.

4. It is no doubt true that where disputed question of facts are involved, a writ petition for payment of compensation on account of negligence of some public authority cannot be considered to be an appropriate remedy and ordinarily when such disputed questions are involved, the person is required to approach the Civil Court for redressal of his grievance. However, when the basic facts are not disputed, it may not be proper for the Court dealing the matter under Article 226 of the Constitution to drive the petitioner back to the Civil Court after the matter remains pending in the High Court for long (here seven years)

5. In the present case, the disputed question is as to whether the petitioner had approached the authority for the hall ticket on the previous day or not and the other dispute is relating to time when he was allowed to take up the examination. In my view these “disputes” are of no consequence. The fact remains that the hall ticket of the petitioner had not been sent as application form of the petitioner was missed in the University. Therefore, the material question is as to whether the hall ticket had been sent or not due to any negligence of the University and not whether the petitioner had approached on 2 8.5.1992 or on 29.5.1992, that is to say, the date of commencement of examination. Ordinarily it would be reasonable to assume that a person desirous of appearing in the examination would be anxious to get the hall ticket well in advance and therefore, the assertion of the petitioner that he had gone on 28.5.1992 is prima facie acceptable. However, it is unnecessary to deal with this question as in my opinion even if the petitioner would have gone on the previous day, the matter would not have been improved as admittedly the hall ticket had not been sent by the University as the application form was missed in the University. In this context, it is worthwhile to extract the objection of the present respondents 1 & 3 before the Consumer Forum wherein it has been clearly stated “ . . . The Complainant’s Examination application form was missed in Madurai-Kamaraj University. The Complainant’s name was not registered in the Nominal Roll and the Hall Ticket was not sent to the College. . . . . “ (emphasis supplied)

6. Similarly the question as to whether the petitioner has been allowed to sit in the examination at 2.50 pm as contended by him or after a few minutes delay as contended by the respondents is also immaterial. Even if there has been slight delay, the fact remains that a candidate desirous of appearing in the examination is bound to undergo severe mental agony if he finds that inspite of filling of application form in time and payment of all necessary fees, his name is not there in the list of candidates and hall ticket is not available and his entry inside the examination hall is likely to be delayed or even denied. There cannot be any escape from the conclusion that the petitioner must have undergone severe mental agony at that time for no fault of his. Similarly there cannot be any escape from the conclusion that mental agony had been caused due to the fact that filled up application was missed in the University obviously because of the employees of the University whose duty was to scrutinise the forms carefully and prepare the list.

7. Failure on the part of a man of ordinary prudence to take due care and caution amounts to negligence. The duty of the employees of the University dealing with the question relating to verification of the forms and preparation of the list can never be over emphasised and there cannot be any scope for even a slightest mistake or oversight in such matters as the future of the students would be in jeopardy. Neither in the reply filed before the Consumer Forum nor in the affidavit filed in this Court, any explanation is furnished for the alleged oversight. In the above circumstances, one can come to the conclusion that negligence is writ large so far as the respondents 1 & 2 are concerned which had resulted in causing mental agony to the petitioner. It is true that the petitioner was allowed to appear in the examination and he might not have suffered any material damages. However, there is no escape from the conclusion that he had suffered severe mental agony.

8. It is said that misfortune never comes alone. The agony of the petitioner had not ended on 29.5.92. The agony was revived subsequently at the time of publication of results of other students when the result of the petitioner had been with-held. It is not disputed that result of the petitioner was with held because the internal marks were not sent by the Principal of the Law College to the University. No counter has been filed on behalf of the third respondent and as such it is not possible to know the reasons for not sending the internal marks. The respondents 1 & 2 have clearly stated that result was with held as the internal marks were not sent. Admittedly the internal marks were sent only on 30.7.19092. Again there cannot be any escape from the conclusion that due to delay in publication of the results, the petitioner would have undergone mental agony.

9. For the aforesaid reasons, there cannot be any escape from the conclusion that the respondents are liable to pay compensation to the petitioner for having caused mental agony to the petitioner due to their negligent action.

10. Before considering the compensation amount to be paid, one technical objection faintly raised by the learned counsel appearing for the respondents 1 & 2 need to be disposed of. It has been stated that the petitioner had approached the Consumer Forum and the Consumer Forum having been rejected the application on the finding that there was no deficiency in service, such conclusion must be taken to be binding on the petitioner.

11. It is true that it has been held by the Supreme Court that the decision of the Consumer Forum may also operate as res judicata. However, in the present case, it is not disputed that the Consumer Forum came to the conclusion that the respondents did not come within the purview of the Consumer Protection Act. In other words, the Consumer Forum came to the conclusion that the application before the Consumer Forum was not maintainable. Once it is held that a litigation before a particular court or forum is not maintainable in that court or Forum, any conclusion on merits of the case rendered by such court or forum would not operate as res judicata. Therefore, the objection raised by the counsel appearing for the respondents is to be over ruled.

12. Learned counsel appearing for the respondents submitted that in future the University would be more careful in the matters relating to examination and no compensation may be directed to be paid by the University. Learned counsel appearing for the petitioner on the other hand submitted that exemplary compensation should be awarded so that the authorities dealing the future of thousands of students will be careful in future.

13. In the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, I am prepared to adopt a middle path. It is stated that the petitioner after completion of his Law course has become an Advocate. Even though he has every reason to be peeved at the lackadaisical attitude shown by the respondents, the fact remains that he is an alumni of the third respondent and holder of the degree granted by the first respondent. He can afford to be a little magnanimous in such matters. It is no doubt true that he must have incurred certain expenditure for pursuing the litigation before the Consumer Forum as well as before this Court and similarly the respondents must have incurred expenditure.

14. In the facts and circumstances of the case and keeping in view the imploration of the learned counsel for the University, I think interest of justice would be served by directing the respondents 1 and 3 to pay a sum of Rs.100/- each as a token compensation to the petitioner and they are also directed to pay a consolidated cost including hearing fees of Rs.500/- each. Such compensation and cost may be paid by the respondents 1 & 3 to the petitioner within a period of two months from the date of communication of the order. Consequently, W.M.P.No.2 518 of 1995 is closed. 26-04-2002

Index : Yes

Internet : Yes

dpk

To

1. Madurai Kamaraj University

Rep. by its Registrar

Palkalai Nagar,

Madurai.

2. The Controller of Examinations,

Madurai Kamaraj University,

Madurai.

3. The Principal,

Madurai Law College,

Madurai 20.

P.K. MISRA, J.

Judgment in WP. 1572/95

and WMP.No.2518 of 1995 


Copyright

Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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