Claim of Obtaining Degree in Absence of Valid Documents Unsustainable: Sikkim HC
16th August 2021, High Court of Sikkim, in Jyoti Agarwal Vs State of Sikkim (W.P.(C) No.56 of 2018), exercising its extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 declared that it cannot recognise a degree to be valid in the absence of documents supporting the claim, and held the petitioner’s degree in M.A Mathematics offered by the Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management University, Sikkim (EIILM University) to be invalid.
The Single Judge Bench of Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai held:
…. Needless to add that the High Court, while exercising extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution, cannot perpetuate illegalities, irregularities or improprieties based on what evidently is a nebulous plea. In conclusion, the Petitioner has failed to make out her case for recognition of her Degree in M.A. (Math) from the EIILM University as legal, genuine and valid for all purposes. Devoid of any merit, the Petition deserves to be and thus stands dismissed.
The matter arose when the petitioner’s degree was called into question at the C.M.P. College, Allahabad University, where she worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics. She claimed to have obtained her degree M.A. (Maths) from the EIILM University in the 2010-2012 session through the Distance Education Programme. However, EIILM University was accorded recognition to conduct programmes in the Distance Education mode only for a period of one academic year (2010-11).
However, the petitioner continued to contend that she had joined the 2010-2012 session and cleared both internal and external examinations conducted by the university in the first division, albeit no documents to this effect was submitted for the perusal of the court. The only documents the petitioner produced were un-dated print-outs of the official university web portal. The print-outs indicated ‘Maths’ as a subject offered by the university but did not provide clarity on whether it was offered through Distance Education mode, Regular mode or both. She also went on to claim that she was misled by the university in the process.
Observing this discrepancy, the Court stated:
“The Petitioner claimed to have appeared in the Internal and External Examinations conducted by the University and cleared the Examinations in the First Division. To buttress this claim, she has placed reliance on Annexure P-3. On perusal of Annexure P-3, all that can be culled out from the document which is said to be a Statement of Marks, is that the Petitioner was a student of ―Master of Arts (Maths)‖ for the Session July 2011-June 2012, there is no document to lend credence to her claim that she appeared in the Examinations of 2010-2011 as well. No documents have been filed by her to support her claim of admission in the Distance Education Programme in M.A. (Math) Course for the 2010- 2012 Session. No documents indicating payment of fees, date of admission, or any correspondence between her and the University have been filed to support her stance”
Studying the facts of the case and the contentions raised by both the parties, the Court remarked:
“The Court cannot adjudicate on the alleged trammelled rights of an individual on the basis of vague and unreliable documents.”
Consequently, the Court decided that in absence of appropriate documents to establish the petitioner’s claim, it cannot conclude whether Mathematics as a subject was offered in M.A. through Distance Mode by the EIILM University or if the Petitioner had undergone the Course for the prescribed period and stated that it would be beyond legal parameters to declare valid, a non-recognised course and refused to lend credibility to the petitioner’s degree.
Nidhi Nair | Research Intern | EduLegaL
Swapna Iyer | Legal Editor | EduLegaL