Conditions Stipulated in the Prospectus for Admission Must Be Fulfilled: Orissa HC
The Orissa High Court in Hritika Mitra vs The Registrar Ravenshaw University, Cuttack, and another held that candidates not meeting the mandatory requirement for admission cannot expect a mandamus to be issued against the University.
Chief Justice Dr. S. Murlidhar held:
…the University is right in its contention that even if the submission that a digitally certified document is as good as the original were to be accepted, it would hold good for one set of documents like the mark sheets but would not apply to other mandatory documents like the School Leaving Certificate, which are not digital documents and would have to be produced in original before the University for verification. This is indeed the mandatory requirement as made clear in the Admission Guidelines and Prospectus of the University, which is binding on the Petitioner, and which in any event she has not questioned in the present petition. With the Petitioner not meeting any of the mandatory requirements, she cannot expect a mandamus to be issued to the University to grant her admission to the B. Com course for the academic session 2020-21 or to permit her to sit for the 1st semester examination.
The petitioner’s admission to the Ravenshaw University, Cuttack to the Bachelor of Commerce (B. Com) degree course for the academic year 2020-21 was rejected. Aggrieved by the decision, she approached the court through a writ on 03.03.2021 praying for the issuance of a writ of mandamus directing the university to admit the petitioner to the said course.
The petitioner contended that she had applied for admission through the online mode on 20th September 2020. She claimed that the certificates and mark sheets of the 10 +2 examinations and the migration certificate of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) were sent to her through digital mode and after downloading and printing copies of it, she got them attested by the principal of her school on 19th September 2020. She submitted the soft copies to the University along with the requisite admission fee. The date of counselling was on 18th October 2020, when she was required to submit the original copies for verification. However, on 14th October 2020, she lost the original documents for which her father had lodged the First Information Report (FIR) in the Dargha Bazaar Police Station, Cuttack. Further, the petitioner contended that she apprised the university of this situation before the date of counselling.
Accordingly, the Court after hearing the contention of the petitioner issued a notice dated 08.03.2021 seeking a response from the as to why did the university not allow her although she was on serial number 147 in the merit list.
On receipt of the notice from the court, the University filed a counter-affidavit on 21.05.21 stating that the petitioner’s claims exceed limitation as the classes had already begun from January 2021. Further, it was also stated that the documents submitted by the petitioner were beyond the time limit given by the University, i.e., she had to submit it on 18.10.2020 or before 20.10.2020. The submission of the original documents is a prerequisite condition for admission under the UG admission rule and guidelines of the university. Accordingly, the petitioner is not a bonafide student as per the rule provided in Odisha Universities Act, 1989 and the Orissa Universities First Statutes, 1990 and therefore could not be allowed to attend online classes.
The court on the matter of institution or university governed under any statues said:
In the matter of admission to educational courses in academic institutions and Universities that are governed by statutes, the procedural requirements have invariably been considered by the Courts to be mandatory. Further, Courts have been insisting that there has to be a strict adherence to the cutoff date for admission to courses.
In conclusion, the court withdrew the interim relief granted to the petitioner allowing her to attend the online classes during the pendency of the petition and held that the candidate has failed to submit the documents as well as the admission fees on the specified date of counselling which forfeited the claims regarding the admission. The case is dismissed without cost.
Rasmita Behera | Research Intern | EduLegaL
Swapna Iyer | Legal Editor | EduLegaL