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Vandana v. Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj Nagpur University and Ors. - (High Court of Bombay) (31 Mar 2017)

Principles of natural justice are to be followed, when civil right of person already appointed or employed are affected



By present petition filed under Article 226 of Constitution of India, Petitioner questions order/communication issued by Chancellor, Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj Nagpur University (Respondent No. 2) refusing to intervene and entertain her complaint/petition under Section 76(7) of Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994 against appointment of Respondent No. 3. The Deputy Secretary to government has communicated the decision stating that, there was no justification found to interfere with decision taken by University Authorities in matter of said selection and appointment. Issue is whether impugned order/decision is quasi-judicial for purpose of Chapter XVII Rule 18 of Bombay High Court Appellate Side Rules, 1960.

Provisions of Chapter XVII Rule 18 of 1960 Rules, deals with powers of Single Judge to finally dispose of applications filed under Article 226 or 227 of Constitution. Orders passed under various enactments which can be thus looked into by Single Judge, are specified therein. At Sr. No. 41, orders passed under 1994 Act find mention. Expression "Order" employed in Rule 18 as per explanation thereto means any order passed by any judicial or quasi-judicial authority empowered to adjudicate under various enactments mentioned in that Rule. Thus, any order passed by any judicial or quasi-judicial authority empowered to adjudicate under 1994 Act needs to be assailed by filing a petition before Single Judge of this Court.

Judgment of Supreme Court in case of Radhey Shyam and another.vrs. Chhabi Nath and others, shows that whenever anybody of persons having legal authority in law to determine questions affecting rights of subjects, and having duty to act judicially, acts in excess of that authority, it is subject to controlling jurisdiction in writ. Expression "judicial acts" does not refer to judicial orders of civil Courts as matter before Supreme Court in which said expression was used arose out of orders of Election Tribunal. Supreme Court also points out in case of Surya Dev Rai.vrs. Ram Chander Rai that when question as to scope of jurisdiction arose, it was clarified that, orders of judicial courts stood on different footing from quasi-judicial orders of the Authorities or Tribunals.

Thus, when power is used, it affects civil right of a person already appointed or employed. When Sub-section (7) of Section 76 is read with Sub-sections (8) and (9), consequences are such that, person against whom power is used is, therefore thrown out of service, though there is no stigma cast upon him. Not casting stigma by itself would not mean that there are no civil consequences. Hon'ble Chancellor may exercise powers on receipt of representation/complaint or even suo motu. Opportunity needs to be given to such person who is likely to be affected and for that purpose, inquiry is also contemplated. Obtaining of explanation is also expressly provided for. Such proceedings result into civil consequences, and therefore, expect compliance with principles of natural justice, by giving affected person an opportunity to submit explanation. Opportunity to explain and an inquiry, therefore, shows inbuilt mechanism with principles of natural justice inherent in it. Merely because office of Hon'ble Chancellor rejects prayer and upholds selection, nature of power and jurisdiction does not undergo any change.

In case of Dr. Shailaja Bhujangrao Wadikar.v. The Hon'ble Chancellor and another. learned Single Judge found that, principles of natural justice were not followed and there were no reasons recorded. Impugned order of refusing to intervene was therefore, in that matter quashed and set aside and matter was placed back before Vice-Chancellor. Discussion therein is squarely attracted herein, matter has been rightly placed before Single Judge of this Court. Registry to proceed further accordingly.

Relevant : Radhey Shyam and Ors. vs. Chhabi Nath and Ors.MANU/SC/0200/2015  ; Dr. Shailaja vs. The Hon'ble Chancellor, MANU/MH/0751/2013; Surya Dev Rai vs. Ram Chander Rai and Ors. MANU/SC/0559/2003


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