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WRIT PETITION (Civil) NO. 853 OF 2014 VARUN SAINI & ORS. … PETITIONERS VERSUS GURU GOBIND SINGH INDRAPRASTHA UNIVERSITY … RESPONDENT

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (Civil) NO. 853 OF 2014

VARUN SAINI & ORS. … PETITIONERS

VERSUS

GURU GOBIND SINGH INDRAPRASTHA
UNIVERSITY … RESPONDENT

WITH

WRIT PETITION(C) NO. 854/2014
WRIT PETITION(C) NO. 855/2014
WRIT PETITION(C) NO. 857/2014
WRIT PETITION(C) NO. 883/2014
WRIT PETITION(C) NO. 867/2014
WRIT PETITION(C) NO. 884/2014
J U D G M E N T

Dipak Misra, J
Education is the spine of any civilised society. Formal
education has its own significance, for it depends upon systemic imparting
of learning regard being had to the syllabus prescribed for the course and
further allowing space for cultivation by individual endeavour. The
sacrosanctity of formal education gains more importance in the field of
technical studies because theory, practical training and application in the
field cumulatively operate to make a student an asset to the country and,
in a way, enables him to achieve excellence as contemplated under Article
51A of the Constitution. The natural corollary, in the ultimate eventuate,
is the acceleration of the growth of the nation. But, a pregnant one, when
an attitude of apathy or lackadaisical propensity or proclivity of
procrastination of the statutory authorities creeps in as a consequence of
which the time schedule meant for approval of the educational institutions
and commencement of the courses is not adhered to, a feeling of devouring
darkness seems to reign supreme as if “things fall apart”. There is a
feeling of discomfiture – how to find out a solvation to the agonizing
problem in exercise of the jurisdiction under Article 32 of the
Constitution of India, for there are some compelling reasons to do so to
protect the national interest as well as not to scuttle the aspirations of
young students or to comatose their hopes stating that all cannot be well
in the State of Denmark and there should not be a Sisyphean endeavour. We
are constrained to commence with such a prologue as the present batch of
writ petitions pertains to counselling and admission in certain categories
of courses which are approved and controlled from many a spectrum regard
being had to the sustenance of standard in education by the All India
Council for Technical Education (for brevity, “AICTE”), and also some
categories of courses which are directly governed by the statutes and
regulations of the University, namely, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha
University (hereinafter referred to as “the University”) in the backdrop of
extension of time schedule fixed by this Court in respect of technical
courses.
The controversy involved in this batch of cases has a past, which requires
to be exposited with requisite respect for chronology. We have already
indicated at the beginning that in all these cases, we are concerned with
the adherence to schedule pertaining to approval by AICTE, counselling and
admission by the authorities of the University. That being the centripodal
issue, our advertence shall remain restricted to the said arena. At this
juncture, we may state that at the appropriate stage, we shall refer to
some necessitous facts from W.P.(C) No. 853/2014.
We are obligated to sit in a time machine to appreciate how the schedule
was fixed by the AICTE under the All India Council for Technical Education
Act, 1987 (for brevity, “the 1987 Act) and the Regulations framed
thereunder and how the said schedule was appositely re-fixed by this Court
in Parshvanath Charitable Trust Vs. All India Council for Technical
Education[1]. In the said decision, a two-Judge Bench scanning the anatomy
of the 1987 Act, observed thus:

“17. The provisions of the All India Council for Technical Education Act,
1987 (for short ‘the AICTE Act’) are intended to improve the technical
education system throughout the country. The various authorities under the
AICTE Act have been given exclusive responsibility to coordinate and
determine the standards of higher education. It is a general power given to
evaluate, harmonise and secure proper relationship to any project of
national importance. Such coordinated action in higher education with
proper standard is of paramount importance to the national progress.

18. The provisions of the AICTE Act, including its Preamble, make it
abundantly clear that AICTE has been established under the Act for
coordinated and integrated development of the technical education system at
all levels throughout the country and is enjoined to promote qualitative
improvement of such education in relation to planned quantitative growth.
The AICTE is required to regulate and ensure proper maintenance of norms
and standards in technical education system. AICTE is to further evolve
suitable performance appraisal system for technical institutions and
universities incorporating norms and mechanisms in enforcing their
accountability. It is required to provide guidelines for admission of
students and has the power to withhold or discontinue grants to such
technical institutions where norms and standards laid down by it and
directions given by it from time to time are not followed. The duty and
responsibility cast on AICTE implies that the norms and standards to be set
should be such as would prevent isolated development of education in the
country.

19. Section 10 of the AICTE Act enumerates various powers and functions
of AICTE as also its duties and obligations to take steps towards
fulfilment of the same. One such power as envisaged in Section 10(k) is to

“grant approval for starting new technical institutions and for
introduction of new courses or programmes in consultation with the agencies
concerned”.

It is important to see that AICTE is empowered to inspect or cause to
inspect any technical institution in clause (p)) of Section 10 without any
reservation whatsoever. However, when it comes to the question of
universities, it is confined and limited to ascertaining the financial
needs or its standards of teaching, examination and research. The
inspection may be made or caused to be made of any department or
departments only and that too, in such manner as may be prescribed, as
envisaged in Section 11 of the AICTE Act.

20. All these vitally important aspects go to show that the Council
(AICTE) created under the AICTE Act is not intended to be an authority
either superior to or to supervise and control the universities and thereby
superimpose itself upon such universities merely for the reason that they
are imparting teaching in technical education or programmes in any of their
departments or units. A careful scanning of the provisions of the AICTE Act
and the provisions of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956 in
juxtaposition, will show that the role of AICTE vis-à-vis the universities
is only advisory, recommendatory and one of providing guidance, thereby
subserving the cause of maintaining appropriate standards and qualitative
norms and not as an authority empowered to issue and enforce any sanctions
by itself. Reference can be made to the judgments of this Court in the case
of Adarsh Shiksha Mahavidyalaya v. Subhash Rahangdale [(2012) 2 SCC 425],
State of Tamil Nadu v. Adhiyaman Educational & Research Institute [(1995) 4
SCC 104] and Bharathidasan University v. All India Council for Technical
Education [(2001) 8 SCC 676].”

The Court referred to various other facets and adverted to All India
Council For Technical Education (Grant of Approval for Starting New
Technical Institutions, Introduction of Courses or Programmes and Approval
of Intake Capacity of Seats for the Courses or Programmes) Regulations,
1994 and noted the Schedule to said Regulations which read as under:-

|Sl. No. |Stage of processing application |Last date by |
| | |which the |
| | |processing should|
| | |be completed. |
|(1) |(2) |(3) |
|1. |For receiving proposals by Bureau RC |31st December |
|2. |For Bureau RC to screen the application| |
| |and (a) to return the incomplete | |
| |applications to the applicants, and (b)| |
| |to forward the applications to (i) | |
| |State Government concerned (ii) | |
| |University or State Board concerned, | |
| |for their comments (iii) Regional | |
| |Officer to arrange visits by Expert | |
| |Committees, and (iv) Bureaus MPCD, BOS | |
| |and RA for their comments | |
|3. |For receiving the comments from (I) the|15th March |
| |State Government (ii) the University or| |
| |the State Board, and (iii) the Regional| |
| |committee based on the Expert | |
| |Committee’s report, and (iv) from the | |
| |Bureaus MPCD, BOS and RA | |
|4. |For consideration of the comments from |31st March |
| |the State Governments, Universities or | |
| |State Boards, Regional Committees, and | |
| |Bureaus of the Council by the State | |
| |level Committee | |
|5. |For recommendations to be made by the |15th April |
| |Central Task Force | |
|6. |For communicating the final decision to|30th April |
| |the State Government or the University | |
| |Grants Commission, under intimation to | |
| |the Regional Office, Director of | |
| |Technical Education, applicant, | |
| |University or State Board | |

After reproducing the schedule, the Court ruled that adherence to the same
is mandatory and not directory, for non-adherence of the schedule can
result in serious consequences and can jeopardise not only the interest of
the college students but also the maintenance of proper standards of
technical education. It further observed that the authorities concerned,
particularly AICTE should ensure proper and timely action upon the
application submitted to it and it must respond to the applicant within a
reasonable time period and should not allow the matter to be dragged till
the final date giving rise to avoidable peculiarities by all stakeholders.
After so stating, the Court also took note of the act that there seem to be
some variation in the schedule issued under Regulation 8(15) and the duties
reflected in the Handbook. After noticing that, the two-Judge Bench opined
that the admission schedule should be declared once and for all rather than
making it a yearly declaration. Emphasis was laid on the consistency and
smoothness in admission process. It has also been stated that there has to
be a fixed and unaltered time schedule for admission to the colleges so
that the students know with certainty and well in advance the admission
schedule that is to be followed and on the basis of which they can exercise
their choice relating to college or the course. The Court referred to the
schedule that was submitted before it for admission for the academic year
2013-2014. Eventually, the Court fixed an appropriate schedule which is as
follows:
“The appropriate Schedule, thus, would be as follows:
|Event |Schedule |
|Conduct of entrance examination |In the month of May |
|(AIEEE/State CET/Management quota| |
|exams, etc.) | |
|Declaration of result of |On or before 5th June |
|qualifying examination (12th exam| |
|or similar) and entrance | |
|examination | |
|1st round of counselling/ |To be completed on or before |
|admission for allotment of seats |30th July |
|2nd round of counselling for |To be completed on or before |
|allotment of seats |10th July |
|Last round of counselling for |To be completed on or before |
|allotment of seats |20th July |
|Last date for admitting |30th July |
|candidates in seats other than |However, any number of rounds |
|allotted above |for counselling could be |
| |conducted depending on local |
| |requirements, but all the |
| |rounds shall be completed |
| |before 30th July |
|Commencement of academic session |1st August |
|Last date up to which students |15th August |
|can be admitted against vacancies| |
|arising due to any reason (no | |
|student should be admitted in any| |
|institution after the last date | |
|under any quota) | |
|Last date of granting or refusing|10th April |
|approval by AICTE | |
|Last date of granting or refusing|15th May |
|approval by University/State | |
|Government | |

After fixing the schedule, the Court thought it appropriate to rule that:
“42. The admission to academic courses should start, as proposed, by 1st
August of the relevant year. The seats remaining vacant should again be
duly notified and advertised. All seats should be filled positively by 15th
August after which there shall be no admission, whatever be the reason or
ground.

43. We find that the above Schedule is in conformity with the
affiliation/recognition schedule aforenoticed. They both can co-exist.
Thus, we approve these admission dates and declare it to be the law which
shall be strictly adhered to by all concerned and none of the authorities
shall have the power or jurisdiction to vary these dates of admission.
Certainty in this field is bound to serve the ends of fair, transparent and
judicious method of grant of admission and commencement of the technical
courses. Any variation is bound to adversely affect the maintenance of
higher standards of education and systemic and proper completion of
courses.”

At this stage, it is seemly to refer to a subsequent decision in
Association of Management of Private Colleges Vs. All India Council for
Technical Education and others[2]. In the said decision, certain
educational institutions, being aggrieved by an order passed by the High
Court of Judicature of Madras, had approached this Court on the foundation
that the High Court had erroneously interpreted the 1987 Act, for the High
Court had opined that the University is not required to take permission
from AICTE, but its affiliated colleges are required to do so. The High
Court has further ruled that the appellant colleges therein should get
their course of MCA ratified by AICTE as per the prescribed format, which
according to the appellants, was in contravention of the settled principles
of interpretation of statutes as stated in Bharathidasan University V. All
India Council for Technical Education[3]. The two-Judge Bench referred to
Parshvanath Charitable Trust(supra), T.M. Pai Foundation V. State of
Karnataka[4], the definition of ‘technical education’ and ‘technical
institution’ in the dictionary clause of the Act and certain provisions of
University Grants Commission Act, 1956, the Regulations framed under the
said Act and came to hold as follows:

“52. …….the AICTE Act does not intend to be an authority either
superior or to supervise or control the universities and thereby
superimpose itself upon the said universities merely for the reason that it
is laying down certain teaching standards in technical education or
programmes formulated in any of the department or units. It is evident that
while enacting the AICTE Act, Parliament was fully alive to the existence
of the provisions of the UGC Act, 1956 particularly, the said provisions
extracted above. Therefore, the definition of “technical institution” in
Section 2(h) of the AICTE Act which authorizes AICTE to do certain things,
special care has consciously and deliberately been taken to make specific
mention of university, wherever and whenever AICTE alone was expected to
interact with a university and its departments as well as constituent
institutions and units. It was held after analyzing the provision of
Sections 10, 11 and 12 of the AICTE Act that the role of the inspection
conferred upon the AICTE vis-a-vis universities is limited to the purpose
of ensuring proper maintenance of norms and standards in the technical
education system so as to conform to the standard laid down by it with no
further or direct control over such universities or scope for any direct
action except bringing it to the notice of UGC. In that background, this
Court in Bharathidasan University case made it very clear by making the
observation that it has examined the scope of the enactment as to whether
the AICTE Act prevails over the UGC Act or the fact of competent entries
fall in Entry 66 List I vis-a-vis Entry 25 of List III of the VII Schedule
of the Constitution.

53. A cumulative reading of the aforesaid paragraphs of Bharathidasan
University case which are extracted above makes it very clear that this
Court has exempted universities, its colleges, constituent institutions and
units from seeking prior approval from AICTE. Also, from the reading of
paragraphs 19 and 20 of Parashvanath Chartitable Trust case it is made
clear after careful scanning of the provisions of the AICTE Act and the
University Grants Commission Act, 1956 that the role of AICTE vis-a-vis
universities is only advisory, recommendatory and one of providing guidance
and has no authority empowering it to issue or enforce any sanctions by
itself.”

After the aforesaid judgment was delivered, a writ petition No. 895/2013
was filed which was taken up on 24.3.2014 wherein the Court passed the
following order:
“Rule nisi.

Having regard to the important issue involved in the Writ Petition,
we think that it will be appropriate if the matter is heard by a Bench of
three Judges.

The matter may be listed accordingly within six months from
today.”

In SLP(C) No. 7277/2014, on 17.4.2014, the following order came to be
passed:
“In the counter affidavit filed on behalf of respondent No.1, i.e.,
All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), it is stated that
Approval Process Handbook (2013-14) is presently in force and the same has
been extended and made applicable for the Academic Year 2014-15 as well.

AICTE shall now proceed in accordance with the Approval Process
Handbook for the Academic Year 2014-15 insofar as the members of the
petitioner Association and all colleges and institutions situated similarly
to the members of the petitioner Association are concerned and necessary
orders shall be issued by AICTE within ten days.

Prayer for interim relief is ordered accordingly.”

In SLP(C) No. 7277/14, IA No. 2-3/2014 were filed. In the said
applications, on 09.05.2014, a four-Judge bench, passed the following
order:
“The order dated 17.4.2014 passed by this Court is clarified and it
is directed that prior approval of All India Council for Technical
Education (AICTE) is compulsory and mandatory for conduct of a technical
course including the MBA/Management course by an existing affiliated
Technical College and also new Technical College which will require
affiliation by a University for conduct of its Technical Courses/Programmes
for the academic year 2014-15.

The time given in the order dated 17.4.2014 is extended by
10.6.2014.

IA Nos. 2 & 3 of 2014 stand disposed of as above.”

Thereafter, a bunch of writ petitions and I.A. No.6 in SLP(C) No. 7277/2014
were filed. The Court referred to the schedule in Parshvanath Charitable
Trust (supra) and taking note of the stand of the AICTE, directed as
follows:
“In the application, the AICTE has averred that it has received 7280
applications from existing technical institutions in the country, of which
6751 applications have been processed already and the remaining 529
applications are pending consideration as on 4th June, 2014. Since the
exercise was of this magnitude, all applications could not be processed so
as to comprehensively respond to the directions of this Court, reproduced
above. Mr. L. Nageswara Rao, learned Additional Solicitor General, states
that if time is extended by one week, all the remaining applications shall
also be processed by AICTE. The prayer in the Writ Petitions is
substantially the same since the stand of the AICTE is that although, after
due consideration, EOA for Academic year 2014-15 is recommended, because of
the deadline given by this Court, the approval cannot be granted.

There can be no gainsaying that every eligible student/ candidate
desirous of participating in further education, especially where resources
and institutions are available, should be accommodated so long as academic
standards are not undermined.

We are satisfied that if the respondent – AICTE is granted seven more
days within which to decide all pending applications, these overriding
interests shall be addressed. It is in these circumstances that we modify
previous orders in the following manner:

The AICTE is granted seven days within which to take a decision on
all the applications pending before it. It shall first take up the
applications in which it has already expressed willingness to grant
approvals, but have not done so in deference of the Orders of this Court.
Thereafter, the concerned Universities/State Authorities/Bodies which have
the powers of granting affiliation shall take a decision on that subject
within one week. It is for these reasons that the first round of
counselling/admission for allotment of seats which was to be completed by
30th June, 2014 will now be completed by 15th July, 2014. The second round
of counselling shall be completed by 22nd July, 2014 and the last round of
counselling shall be completed by 29th July, 2014. In this manner, the
date of commencement of the Academic Session, as laid down by this Court
above, shall not be disturbed.

It is made clear that all the Colleges who have been cleared for
intake of students for the Academic Year 2014-2015, as envisaged in the
process above, shall be cleared and considered for admitting students for
the current Academic Year. Learned Senior Counsel appearing for the
petitioners in some of the Writ Petitions apprehends that the respondents
may adhere to Annexure P-7. We think that that would not be appropriate in
view of the orders contained herein.”

In spite of the aforesaid order, the grievance, as submitted by Mr. Mukul
Rohtagi, learned Attorney General for Union of India appearing on behalf of
AICTE as well as for the University still subsisted. In SLP(C) No.
21901/2014, a two-Judge Bench, appreciating the core fact that the
concerned institution had been granted approval way back in 2011 and
struggling to commence the first academic session, directed as follows:-

“…We find it appropriate to direct the respondents to allow the
petitioner to commence the academic session within one week from today by
adhering to the different steps laid down by this Court. The counselling
shall be conducted on the basis of the merit list prepared by the concerned
competent authority, for which a Notification shall positively be issued by
tomorrow i.e. 14.08.2014. The students who have already been admitted to
other institutions, will not have the option to seek admission in the
petitioner-institution.

The counselling process, in terms of the directions issued by this
Court shall be completed by 19.08.2014, and the admissions shall be
finalised under all circumstances by 20.08.2014.”

Further substantiating the reason, the Court observed:
“The reason for us to extend the schedule expressed by this Court
in its earlier orders, is based on the fact, that the institution in
question i.e. the petitioner before this Court had assailed the action of
the Anna University before the High Court by filing a writ petition as far
back in 2013. It is only because, the judicial process extended up to
21.07.2014 (when the impugned order was passed) that the deadlines have
been crossed. The last date for finalising admissions has yet not crossed.
The denial of commencement of the academic session would cause extensive
financial loss to the petitioner, despite the fulfilment of all essential
norms. It is in these peculiar circumstances that the instant order has
been passed.”

As the chronology of events would further uncurtain IA No. 46/2014 was
filed in Parshvanath Charitable Trust (supra) for extension of time and the
Court, on 11.08.2014, while dealing with the Schedule in respect of the
State of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, directed as follows:
“Having heard the learned counsel for the parties and taking into
consideration the fact that State of Telangana has been created recently on
2.6.2014 and both the States i.e. newly created State of Telangana and the
State of Andhra Pradesh may face some difficulty to complete the admission
process within the time stipulated.

We allow the prayer. Both the States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh
and the competent authorities will complete the counselling and admission
in engineering colleges and other institutions by 31st August, 2014 in
accordance with law. The extension of time will be applicable to the State
of Andhra Pradesh and newly created State of Telangana and not the other
State.”

Be it noted, IA Nos. 50-56/2014 were filed in Parshvanath Charitable Trust
(supra) case and the Court adverting to the earlier table and the table
submitted by the AICTE, issued the following directions:
“Earlier when the matter was taken up by this court on 19th August, 2014 in
I.A. No. 50,51 & 52, the following order was passed:

“The petitioners may file an additional affidavit enclosing a chart
showing the date they intend to (i) get counselling of students, (ii) admit
the students,(iii) start the course, (iv) number of classes to be attended
as per law (iv)the day when the course will be completed as per the norms,
(v) the month in which admit card will be issued and (vi) the examination
schedule to commence.

Post the matter on 25th August, 2014.”

The aforesaid order was passed with a view to know whether the
students will suffer if the period of counselling an admission is extended
and whether the petitioners will be in a position to complete the sessions
within time schedule.

The additional affidavit has been filed on behalf of the Applicant
I.A. NO. 50/2014 showing therein details of the existing v Academic
Calendar Year 2014-2015 which reads as follows :
|State of academic |1st of August (University |No. of Days considering |
|session as per Supreme|started their classes on |5 days a week – |
|Court |19th August, 2014 |Holidays* |
|Actual date of start |20th of August |71-06 = 65 teaching days|
|of classes | | |
|Last of teaching |29th of November | |
|Issue of Admit Card |1st of Dec (Admit Card are| |
| |issued on line) | |
|Preparation Leave for |1st Dec – 14th Dec |14 Days |
|Exam | | |
|Start of Semester |15th of December, 2014 | |
|examination | | |
|End of Semester |10th of Jan., 2015 | |
|examination | | |
|Start of second |15th of January, 2015 | |
|semester | | |

The Applicants have now proposed the academic calendar for admission
in their Colleges/Institutions, without loss of teaching days, making
Saturdays as teaching days :

|Start of academic |1st of September |No. of Days considering 6 |
|session | |days a week – Holidays* |
|Last day of teaching|29th of November |78-6 = 72 teaching days |
|Issue of Admit Card |1st of Dec. (Admit card | |
| |are issued on line) | |
|Preparation, Leave |1st Dec – 14th Dec |14 Days |
|for Exam | | |
|Start of Semester |15th of December, 2014 | |
|examination | | |
|End of Semester |10th of Jan., 2015 | |
|examination | | |
|Start of second |15th of January, 2015 | |
|semester | | |

The learned counsel appearing on behalf of other applicants and AICTE
submits that there is no objection if the Academic Calendar Year proposed b
the applicant – International Institute of Technology & Business, Sonepat
and others in I.A. No. 50/2014 is allowed. It may be allowed to be applied
to other institutions who have filed similar applications.

Having heard the learned counsel for the parties, we direct to
implead the applicants as party to C.A. No. 9048/2012, extend the cut-off
for counselling and admission as fixed by the final judgment and order
dated 13th December, 2012 passed in C.A. NO.9048/2012 by one week i.e. 5th
September, 2014 with clear understanding that they will admit the students
and complete the Session as per the time schedule shown and recorded above.
This extension of time for Counselling and Admission shall be
applicable to the Colleges/Institutions who have filed the applications for
impleading as the parties to the present appeal and the Colleges and
Institutions for whom permission has been sought by AICTE.”
We have referred to the orders passed by this Court in a sequential manner
only to highlight that for the academic year 2014-15 there was some cavil
with regard to the jurisdiction of AICTE till the four-Judge Bench by order
dated 9.5.2014 clarified prior approval of AICTE is compulsory and
mandatory for conduct of technical course including MBA/Management course
by exiting affiliated technical college and also including technical
college which would require affiliation by a university for conduct of its
technical process/programmes for the academic year 2014-15. The time
schedule originally postulated in the Parshvanath case was extended regard
being had to the special features of each case.
In the case at hand it is submitted by Mr. Rohatgi that the university had
issued a notification on 28.8.2014 to provide a fresh round of counselling
(supplementary counselling) after 15.8.2014 which was the cut-off date.
The said notification issued by the university challenged before the High
Court of Delhi. The learned Single Judge issued notice in the Writ
Petition but did not pass an interim order. In Intra-Court Appeal the
Division Bench by an order dated 3.9.2014 gave liberty to the university to
go ahead with the supplementary counselling for non-AICTE courses/ non-NCTE
courses and granted liberty to move this court for extension of time.
Assailing the aforesaid order Special Leave Petition (C) No. 24442 of 2014
was filed and this court on 8.9.2014 passed the following order:-
“Issue notice.

Ms. Asha Jain Madan, Advocate for the respondent, on caveat, has entered
appearance and accepts notice.
We have been apprised, in the course of hearing of this petition for the
purposes of admission, that the University has issued a notification dated
28.08.2014, which is prior to the order passed by the High Court. The said
notification, as submitted by Mr. Sibal, is likely to affect the schedule
fixed by this Court for AICTE and other statutory authorities like, NCTE,
etc. It is also urged at the Bar by virtue of this notification being
worked out, the students who have been admitted to a particular course, may
be dislodged or try their option for other courses as a consequence of
which the educational institutions would likely to face a hazard. Be that
as it may, Mr. Maninder Singh, learned ASG shall explain the impact and
effect of the notification issued on 28.08.2014.
As an ad interim measure, it is directed there shall be stay of operation
of the order dated 3.09.2014 passed by the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi
in LPA No. 576/2014 and the Notification referred to hereinabove.

List on 12.09.2014.”
When the matter was listed thereafter, a statement was made by the counsel
appearing for the university that the notification dated 28.8.2014 which
was the subject matter of the writ petition in the High Court was
withdrawn. Taking note of the said submission, the following order came to
be passed.
“Heard Mr. Maninder Singh learned Additional Solicitor General
appearing for the University. It is submitted by the learned Additional
Solicitor General that the University has taken a decision to withdraw the
Notification dated 28th August, 2014.
In view of the aforesaid, the impugned order passed by the Division
Bench of the High Court is set aside and the Writ Petition © No.5696/2014
pending in the High Court of Delhi, is deemed to have been disposed of.”
Thereafter the present batch of writ petitions have been filed
fundamentally for extension of time schedule which would logically give
rise to conducting of another round of counselling. It is contended in the
writ petition that more than six thousand seats are vacant and there are
thousand of students who are qualified in CET and there is no justification
not to fill up the said seats. It is asseverated that due to no fault of
the educational institutions which are self-financed are likely to suffer
enormous financial loss and the students who have cleared the entrance test
and are meritorious would lose one year. Be it stated, the notification
issued by the university covered the following courses:-
“(a) B.Tech/M. Tech. (Dual Degree)/B.Tech. CET Code 31;
(b) BBA,CET Code 125
(c) BCA CET Code 114
(d) B. Com., CET Code 146
(e) B.Ed. CET Code 122
(f) BJMC, CET Code 126
(g) BA, LLB/BBA, LL.B. CET Code 121
(h) MBA, CET Code 191
(i) MCA, CET Code 105
(j) LE to B.Tech. CET Code 128 and 129”

It is not disputed that courses covered under (a), (h), (i) and (j) are
covered by AICTE Regulations. B.Ed. CET Code 122 is covered under the NCTE
Act and Regulations framed thereunder. Courses covered under, (b), (c),
(d), (f) and (g) are directly governed by the university statutes and
regulations. In the present case we are not dealing with the controversy
pertaining to the cases under the NCTE Act, 1993.
First, we shall dwell upon the courses that are regulated by the 1987 Act
and the 1994 Regulations. It is submitted by the learned counsel for the
petitioners, namely, the institutions and the students, that AICTE did not
adhere to the schedule as far as the counselling is concerned and the
University played possum with the schedule and further created a chaos by
allowing the students who had already taken admissions in certain
institutions to participate in the supplementary counselling which is
impermissible on the face of the prospectus issued by the university. Mr.
Rohtagi, learned Attorney General would submit that AICTE, after the
pronouncement of the judgment in Association Management of Private
Colleges’ case was uncertain of its jurisdiction/authority till it was
conferred the power although by an interim order on 9.5.2014 in Orissa
Technical Colleges Association’s case, and that uncertainty caused delay.
We have been apprised that the matter is pending before a three-Judge Bench
and the AICTE has proceeded solely on the basis of the interim order. As
far as the issuance of the notification in respect of ten courses having
access to all candidates including the students who had already taken
admission, learned Attorney General submitted, that such inclusion was
contrary to the prospectus and also erroneous on many a score.
Let it be clearly stated that we appreciate that for the academic year 2014-
15, there were certain unforeseen circumstances. First, a question mark
was put on the authority of AICTE, (ii) second, there was bifurcation of
States of Andhra Pradesh to two states, namely State of Andhra Pradesh and
State of Telengana, and (iii) third, number of seats had remained vacant
despite students having qualified and desirous of taking of the courses.
In our considered opinion, these are significant special features that have
occurred in the academic year 2014-15. There are two ways to look at the
fact situation. It can be perceived with a myopic attitude or it can be
appreciated, regard being had to multitudinous consequences. We have been
apprised by the learned Attorney General that if time is granted for on-
line counselling it can commence w.e.f. 20th of October, 2014 and would be
over within two days and thereafter classes can start. He has reproduced a
letter dated 11th of October, 2014 issued by the Vice-Chancellor how the
University would carry out the supplementary counselling. We think it apt
to reproduce the same:-
“University would be agreeable to carry out a supplementary counselling for
admissions for remaining vacant seats from the eligible CET qualified
candidates.
The University has further decided that only vacant seats will be filled up
from eligible CET qualified students as per their merits, who have not
taken admissions as yet.
The university also agrees that no further dislocation will be carried out
for any students who are already admitted in the programmes at any
college/institute.”

Weighing the issue on the scales of larger public interest in the obtaining
factual matrix we are inclined to state that the relief sought and the
plausible solution offered by the University can be accepted as that would
subserve the cause of justice. In these courses, the university, as
submitted before us, can keep the pace. The students who would be taking
admissions subject to our order, be put in one section in the allotted
colleges so that they can attend classes for an extra hour. That apart
their holidays shall be curtailed as per the directions of the University.
An undertaking to the said effect can be taken from the students. Every
student shall have the requisite 75% attendance of the original number of
classes. In case, there will be any shortage of attendance it shall be
sternly dealt with.
Be it noted, such an agonizing situation inviting national waste could have
been avoided had AICTE and the University would have been more careful,
cautious and circumspect. However, to do complete justice, we have issued
the aforesaid directions. This is in the larger public interest. At this
juncture we may fruitfully recapitulate an ancient saying:-
“Yadapi Sidhham, Loka Virudhham
Na Adaraniyam, Na Karaniyam”
As the present fact situation depicts the larger public interest and
ultimately subserve the cause of justice we extend the time for on-line
counselling till 20th of October, 2014.
At this juncture, we have been apprised by Mr. P.P. Rao and Mr. Sundram,
learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioners that the problem
occurs every year, for despite days for counselling are fixed, adequate
number of students are not called for counselling, as a result of which,
many students who have cleared the CET do not get an opportunity to
undertake the counselling and eventually the admission does not take place.
We are absolutely conscious that it is in the sphere of university
administration. But when the problem is recurrent we command the
University to hold counselling in such a manner within the stipulated time
in the schedule so that all the seats are filled up if there are eligible
candidates for such counselling. The University cannot behave like an
alien to the national interest. Another aspect which requires to be noted
is that a blame game has been going on by the educational institutions on
the one hand and the AICTE and the University on the other, and on certain
occasions between the AICTE and the University. All of them function in
the field of education. Such kind of cavil and narrowness is likely to
create a concavity in the educational culture of the country. Therefore,
all concerned must remember that education charters the way where a
civilized man slaughters his prejudices. Any education properly imparted
is a constant allurement to learn. It is inconceivable that the
authorities who are in charge of controlling the sphere of education to
behave like errant knights justifying their own fanciful deeds. Law
expects a rational perception, logical approach and a studied and well-
deliberated decision from all the authorities. It is imperative to
state, a concerted effort has to be made by the AICTE and the University to
avoid recurrence of this kind of piquant and agonising situations.
Perceived from any perspective, it does not augur a healthy situation. Had
the AICTE functioned within the time frame in respect of the process the
matter would not have given rise to such a situation. Similarly, had the
University conducted the counselling with utmost responsibility keeping in
view the number of seats that were available in the approved institutions
and the number of students that have qualified in the Common Entrance Test,
possibly the gravity of the problem would have been less.
In a State of good governance, a problem is taken note of so that
appropriate and timely steps are taken to avoid any recurrence. The
authorities who are incharge of giving approval, preparing syllabus,
imparting education and carrying on such other activities, are required to
behave with responsibility. Lack of concern is only indicative of the
beginning of destruction. That cannot be allowed to occur. Therefore, we
caution the AICTE and the University to see to it that things are done on
time following the fixed time schedule. We ingeminate, at the cost of
repetition, that we have extended the time because of the situation that
has prevailed this year but if due efforts are taken, we are certain that
same would not be required. We hasten to clarify the time schedule
originally fixed in Parshvanath Charitable Trust case has to be treated as
the schedule for all coming years. Any modification that has been done, as
is manifest from the various orders which we have reproduced hereinbefore,
including the present judgment, have been passed for the academic session
2014-15 in the special features of each case. Be it stated, avoidance of
unpleasant litigation is a progressive step in a civilised society governed
by rule of law.
To sum up:
(a) Time is extended for carrying out the on-line counselling till 21st of
October, 2014.
(b) The students who have already taken admission in colleges shall not
be permitted to participate in the supplementary counselling, and the
students who are attending classes in any institution without the
counseling shall be deemed not to have been admitted and therefore they
will be eligible to participate in the on line counseling.
(c) The students those are selected for admission and allotted to the
respective colleges on merits shall take admission forthwith.
(d) The students after being allotted to a particular college shall be put
in a separate Section as they shall be required to attend extra-working
classes. The educational institutions have to seriously impart education
with the help and aid of teachers, if necessary, by providing adequate
means and facilitation for the teachers.
The University shall constitute a team to see whether classes are held or
not.
Unless a student gets the requisite attendance of 75% on the basis of the
computation held, regard being had to the entire teaching days, he shall
not be permitted to appear in the examination.
The time schedule originally fixed in Parshavnath Charitable Trust (supra)
shall remain in force and be religiously followed in the subsequent years.
Ex consequenti, the writ petitions are disposed of on above terms. There
shall be no order as to costs.

………………………..J.
(DIPAK MISRA)

…..…………………….J.
(UDAY UMESH LALIT)
NEW DELHI
OCTOBER 16, 2014

———————–
[1] (2013) 3 SCC 385
[2] (2013) 8 SCC 271
[3] (2001) 8 SCC 676
[4] (2002) 8 SCC 481

———————–
35

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