Friday, August 12, 2022

Allahabad High Court dismisses petition observing Education is a Fundamental right

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The Allahabad High Court dismissed the petition while observing that the receiving proper education is a Fundamental Right enshrined under Article 21-A of the Constitution of India.

The Division Bench of Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan and Justice Subhash Vidyarthi passed this order while hearing a Special Appeal filed by Tanishk Srivastava, Lucknow through Father Ranjeet Kumar Srivastava.

By means of the special appeal filed under Chapter VIII Rule 5 of the Allahabad High Court Rules, the validity of the order dated 27.04.2022 passed by the Single Judge in Writ-C No 2378 of 2022, Tanishk Srivastava Vs State of U.P & Others, dismissing the writ petition holding the same as not maintainable has been assailed.

The precise facts and circumstances of the issue in question is that the son of the deponent of the writ petition, namely master Tanishk Srivastava appeared in the entrance test on 20.03.2022 held for the admission as Resident Scholar in the educational institution in question i.e La martiniere College, Lucknow for taking admission in Class-VIII. Result of the entrance test was declared on 25.03.2022 and such a candidate, namely, Tanishk Srivastava bearing Form was declared successful to get admission in Class-VIII as Resident Scholar.

The Court observed that due to some compelling circumstances i.e serious illness of the mother of the candidate and his father being out of town for the purposes of service, the student could not get admission in Class-VIII as Resident Scholar, therefore, an application was preferred by the father of the candidate to the Principal of the Institution on 04.04.2022 through e-mail that instead of treating his son as a Resident Scholar, he may be given admission as Day Scholar as he is ready to complete all required formalities including the fees.

Along with the aforesaid application, the medical prescription of the mother of the candidate has been provided.

]When the application dated 04.04.2022 sent through e-mail was not disposed of, the father of the candidate preferred a representation dated 10.04.2022 through e-mail to the District Magistrate, Lucknow, who is Member of the Governing Council of such institution making the same request but to no avail. Further, on the same date i.e 10.04.2022, same application was preferred through e-mail to the Principal Secretary, Senior Secondary School Board, Lucknow for the redressal of the same grievance, but to no avail.

As per the counsel for the appellant/writ petitioner, the father of the candidate has not been informed about the fate of the admission of his son till 18.04.2022, therefore, he filed a writ petition before the Court, Tanishk Srivastava Vs State of U.P & Others, making the prayers which have been reproduced in the order of the Single Judge dated 27.04.2022.

The Court noted that,

The writ petition of the appellant/writ petitioner has been dismissed on the ground that the said writ petition is not maintainable for the reason that the issue of the same institution has already been set at rest order dated 26.07.2016 passed by the Apex Court in Civil Appeal, Committee of Management, La Martiniere College, Lucknow and Anr Vs Vatsal Gupta and Others, whereby the apex Court has held that the institution being an unaided minority private institution, therefore, the writ petition against such institution may not be entertained.

The order dated 23.12.2015, the Division Bench of the Court had modified the order of the Single Judge passed on 16.10.2015 in Writ Petition, Vatsal Gupta Vs La Martiniere College and Ors, whereby the Single Judge considering the various judgments of the constitutional courts had observed that the writ petition against such institution is not maintainable.

However, the Division Bench order dated 23.12.2015 modified the judgment of the Single Judge dated 16.10.2015 in exercise of the extraordinary jurisdiction of the Court considering the peculiar facts and circumstances of the issue relating to the admission of one student, Vatsal Gupta clarifying that such judgment may not be treated as precedence.

The Single Judge order dated 27.04.2022 has considered aforesaid judgment of the Apex Court dated 26.07.2016 as well as some more judgments of the Apex Court and came to the conclusion that since a writ petition against La Martiniere College, Lucknow is not maintainable, therefore, the reliefs prayed in the writ petition may not be granted and the writ petition deserves to be dismissed.

On being confronted the counsel for the appellant/ writ petitioner as to whether he is able to show any case law to the effect that in spite of the facts, circumstances and legal position so discussed above grievance of the appellant may be redressed by invoking extra-ordinary jurisdiction of the Court, no proper reply or case law has been cited to convince the Court that the prayers of the writ petition could be allowed, the Court further noted.

“We have perused the entire judgment of the Single Judge dated 27.04.2022 and we are in full agreement with the observations and findings of such judgment, therefore, the special appeal is liable to be dismissed”, the Court further observed while dismissing the appeal.

The Court said that,

We find it appropriate to observe that if the admission of the student-appellant Tanishk Srivastava for Class VIII for that he was admittedly qualified was not possible as Day Scholar student as he had qualified such entrance examination for Resident Scholar, at least specific information to this effect must be provided to the parents of such student at the earliest so that appropriate steps could be taken by the parents of such student. As contended in the writ petition that father of the student has preferred representation dated 04.04.2022 to the Principal of the institution through e-mail and representations dated 10.04.2022 to the District Magistrate, Lucknow and the Principal Secretary, Senior Secondary School Board, Lucknow with the specific prayer that instead of treating his son Tanishk Srivastava as Resident Scholar for Class-VIII, he may be treated as Day Scholar for Class-VIII apprising his compelling circumstances but such representations have not been disposed of by the Principal of the institution or other authorities inasmuch as the father of the student could not receive any information.

This is not a case where the student has not qualified the entrance examination for getting admission in particular class i.e. Class-VIII but this is a case where such student has qualified such entrance examination as Resident Scholar but due to compelling and unavoidable circumstances he could not be able to get admission as Resident Scholar. Therefore, in such compelling circumstances, at least on the basis of principles of equity, it was bare minimum required on the part of the Principal of the institution to apprise the parents of the student that the institution would be unable to provide admission to their ward in Class-VIII as a Day Scholar student. This is a trite law that where there is no statutory prescription to redress the grievance of any aggrieved, the equitable principles would be applied inasmuch as no one should be left remedial.

The Court further said that,

Therefore, in similar situations, at least the fate of the issue must be communicated to the person aggrieved who has raised his/her grievance before the competent authority. In the case, after declaring the result of the entrance test wherein the student-appellant Tanishk Srivastava was permitted to get admission in Class-VIII as a Resident Scholar but he could not get admission as Resident Scholar and requested through his parents to permit him to get admission in such Class as Day Scholar, so if that request of the student/parents of the student was not liable to be accepted, he/they should have been immediately informed about such fact so that such student could get his admission in any other institution for receiving proper education inasmuch as to receive proper education is a Fundamental Right enshrined under Article 21-A of the Constitution of India.

Hence, to that extent we show our displeasure towards the approach of the Principal of the institution. The competent authorities/ educational authorities must also ensure that the grievance relating to the admission in an institution is redressed with promptness and does not remain unattended. Whatever is possible under the law or under the principles of equities, prompt decision should be taken and intimated to all aggrieved so that the consequential steps could be taken well in time.

The Court directed that the copy of the order be provided to all the following opposite parties by the Registry of the Court for information and necessary action:-

  1. Principal Secretary, Primary Education, Civil Secretariat, Bapu Bhawan, Lucknow.
  2. District Magistrate, Lucknow.
  3. Director, Indian School Certificate Examination Board, Pragati House, 3rd Floor 47-48, Nehru Place, New Delhi.
  4. Principal, La Martiniere College, Martin Purva Road, Lucknow-226001.
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