Varsity Faulted Over PhD Scholar’s Rustication

Hyderabad: Justice S. Nanda of the Telangana High Court faulted the Konda Laxman Telangana State Horticulture University for violating principles of natural justice while rusticating a PhD scholar. Thallapally Saideep, the affected student, filed a writ petition challenging the order issued by the deemed Forest College and Research Institute at Mulugu rusticating him from PhD in forestry. The petitioner was arraigned as Accused No. 82 for allegedly helping a third party in cracking answers for the AEE and DAO examination conducted by the TSPSC through ChatGPT, and was arrested and remanded to judicial custody in July 2023. While in judicial remand, the impugned order of rustication was made against the petitioner for the offence committed in connection with TSPSC paper leakage and malpractice and arrest by the Special Investigation Team probing the TSPSC exam question paper leak. After perusing the records and hearing the parties, Justice Nanda pointed out that admittedly in the present case the petitioner did not involve in any unfair means in examinations conducted in the university and Regulation No. 11 had no application insofar as issuing the impugned orders dated July 14, 2023, were concerned. Faulting the approach of the authorities, the court opined that the order had been passed unilaterally without giving any opportunity to the petitioner and added that the impugned proceedings itself made it evident that no explanation of whatsoever nature had been called for from the petitioner nor any reasonable opportunity of hearing was provided and the order had been passed by Forest College and Research Institute unilaterally contending that the petitioner was involved in TSPSC paper leakage and malpractice. Reiterating an individual’s right to liberty including the right to pursue his or her study, Justice Nanda echoed the observations of the apex court that if the law presumes an accused to be innocent till his guilt is proved, the appellants as presumably innocent persons are entitled to all the fundamental rights including the right to liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution and are entitled to pursue their course of study so long as exercise of the right does not hamper smooth conduct and progress of the prosecution. She said that this court opined that it was well-established that even when there is no specific provision in a statute or rules made thereunder for showing cause against action proposed to be taken against an individual, which affects the right of that individual, the duty to give reasonable opportunity to be heard will be implied from the nature of the function to be performed by the authority, which has the power to take punitive or damaging action. It is further settled law now, that although there are no positive words in the statute which stipulate that the party shall be heard, yet the justice of the common law will supply the omission of the legislature. The principle of ‘audi alteram partem’ which mandates that no one shall be condemned unheard, is part of the rules of natural justice. Thus, the soul of natural justice, it has been said, was only “fair play in action”. Justice Nanda accordingly allowed the writ petition. It was however observed that it was open to the respondents to proceed afresh in the matter if the respondents intended to do so duly following the principles of natural justice by providing reasonable opportunity to the petitioner which includes an opportunity to provide a personal hearing.

HC refuses to stop constructions

The PIL panel of the Telangana High Court refused to stall the construction of residential flats at Ward No. 9 of Shaikpet village. The panel comprising Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice J. Anil Kumar, however, made clear that the constructions will be subject to further orders in the PIL. Rashtriya Vanarasena, a charitable trust for the protection and preservation of temples in India, filed a PIL seeking cancellation of the allotment of government and endowment land to Deccan Infrastructure and Land Holdings Limited in Survey No. 403, Ward No. 9 of Shaikpet. The petitioner contended that the land was in the heart of Jubilee Hills and allotting it to the respondent builders based on the e-auction value of 2013 in the year 2021 which caused a loss of `260.69 crore to the state revenue was illegal. The petitioner inter alia had also prayed to demolish all constructions raised on the land and further reconstruct the Hanuman temple. Senior counsel Vedula Srinivas, appearing for the beneficiary builders, pointed out that the government chose to place the land in question in favor of The Deccan Infrastructure and Land Holdings Limited, after it suffered an arbitral award for Rs 530 crore. He said that this was not largesse distributed by the government but was consequent upon an arbitral award. The argument was factored in by the panel which made clear that no interim order can be made stalling constructions.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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