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Shimla College of Education v. National Council for Teacher Education and Ors. - (High Court of Delhi) (05 Jun 2017)

When power has been exercised by Authority in a manner impermissible in law, Court is empowered to interfere with decision of Authority



Petitioner, which is an unaided and self financed educational institution, established by a registered trust namely Shimla Education Society Trust imparting education in various fields including teacher training courses, has approached present Court being aggrieved by action of Respondents in refusing to grant permission to Petitioner for starting M.Ed. course from 2017-2018 academic session based on decision taken in its 269th meeting held from 26th April, 2017 to 2nd May, 2017. Petitioner has also prayed for quashing of Regulation 8[4][iii] of National Council for Teacher Education [Recognition Norms & Procedure] Regulations, 2014 on ground of its being ultra vires the NCTE Act, 1993, Transfer of Property Act, 1882 and violative of Articles 14 & 19 of Constitution of India.

It is an admitted fact that, Respondents have granted recognition to Petitioner for B.Ed Course in year 2007 for same institution and land and this recognition is admittedly continuing as on date. Rejection of Petitioner's case for grant of recognition for M.Ed. course despite repeated orders having been passed by Respondent No. 1 in appeal clearly shows that, Respondent No. 2 has virtually exceeded its jurisdiction and tried to overreach order of its superior appellate authority. On one hand, Appellate Authority of Respondent No. 1 had been repeatedly accepting appeals of Petitioner and was fully satisfied that, Petitioner institution fulfilled all requirements under provisions of NCTE Act, Rules and Regulations and was providing adequate instructional and infrastructural facilities but regrettably Respondent No. 2 repeatedly rejected Petitioner's application without any valid reasons.

Approach of Respondent No. 2 qua Petitioner is biased as is manifested from orders of High Court of Himachal Pradesh. It was evident from orders passed by High Court of Himachal Pradesh that, a member of Committee of Respondent No. 2 was biased against Petitioner. He had in fact despite a restraint order dated 6th August, 2015 passed by High Court yet, he had not only taken part, but in fact chaired meetings relating to consideration of case of Petitioner compelling High Court to direct him to give a written unconditional apology. In present case, on account of highly unreasonable and arbitrary conduct of Respondents, not only Petitioner, which has been running a B.Ed Course in same institution and on same land for last seven years, but also hundreds of students, have been deprived of benefit of M.Ed Course for last four academic years i.e. from 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.

Respondent No. 1 is paramount body for granting recognition and Courts would not normally substitute their views. But, it is an equally well settled principle that, once it is found that, power has been exercised by Authority in a manner impermissible in law and shows complete non-application of mind on part of Respondents, Court would in exercise of powers under Article 226 of Constitution of India, be justified in interfering with decision of Respondents Authority.

Respondents have repeatedly rejected case of Petitioner on wholly unwarranted grounds ignoring basic admitted fact that, Petitioner/Institute has been granted permission by same body i.e. Respondent No. 2 for two other courses i.e. B.Ed. and Diploma of Elementary Education on basis of same documents and after specifically coming to conclusion that, it was satisfied that, Institution fulfilled requirements under provisions of NCTE Act, rules and regulations including instructional and infrastructural facilities.

It is an admitted fact that, present petition is twelfth case filed by Petitioner for same grievance before this Court. Petitioner has already suffered on account of highly unreasonable and arbitrary conduct of Respondents. Plea of availability of an alternate remedy is never an absolute bar. Each time Appellate authority has after returning factual findings in favour of Petitioner, remanded matter to Respondent No. 2 which has diverted matter into a series of untenable objections and rejection of prayers, necessitating multiple writ petitions. Therefore, alternate remedy in present case is not an equally efficacious remedy.

In view of fact that, Petitioner is not at all at fault for delay caused in deciding its application made in 2012 and also fact that, Petitioner has pursued its remedy as expeditiously as possible which is evident from fact that, Petitioner was compelled to file as many as ten writ petitions (seven writ petitions before this court, three writ petitions before High Court of Himachal Pradesh) besides one contempt petition before this Court, cut off date cannot be allowed to be used by Respondent as a tool to deny the relief to which Petitioner was also and so found entitled. In fact, it would be grave travesty of justice if Petitioner is not permitted to start course, especially since it is also an admitted fact that, course of M.Ed. has to begin only in September, 2017 and there is still adequate time to start course.

Where no fault is attributable to a candidate and the candidate is denied admission for arbitrary reasons, cut off date cannot be used as a technical instrument or tool to deny admission to a meritorious student. Principles laid down by Supreme Court in case of Asha v. Pt. B.D. Sharma University of Health Sciences & Ors., has been followed by various Single Benches of High Courts including High Court of Andhra Pradesh, High Court of Kerala. In present case, Petitioner has acted diligently and promptly responded to every query raised by Respondents. Impugned decision dated 1st May, 2017 of Respondent No. 2 is quashed and Respondents are directed to forthwith process application of Petitioner for grant of recognition for course of M.Ed. for academic year 2017-2018 ignoring reasons stated in its decision dated 1st May, 2017.

Relevant : Asha vs. Pt. B.D. Sharma University of Health Sciences and Ors. MANU/SC/0542/2012


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