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Court No. 38

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 64394 of 2010


Md. Adil Hossain Vs. Vice Chancellor A.M.U. Aligarh & Ors.

*****

Hon'ble A.P. Sahi,J.

The petitioner Md. Adil Hossain, a native of the province of


West Bengal and a student of the Aligarh Muslim University, who
was pursuing a Post Graduate Course in Mass Communication,
has been called upon by the University through the impugned
orders of punishment to remain out of bounds of the University
and has been handed down a Migration Certificate, as a result
whereof, the career of the petitioner as a student of the University
has been finally terminated. The appeal filed by the petitioner
before the Executive Council of the University has also been
dismissed. Hence, this petition.

There is no dispute between the parties that the disciplinary


proceedings relating to a student are governed by the rules
framed by the Academic Council known as the Aligarh Muslim
University Students' Conduct and Discipline Rules, 1985. The acts
of indiscipline are defined under Rule (4).

A perusal of the proceedings that were initiated against the


petitioner are reflected in the Office Memo dated 3rd of June, 2010
which demonstrate that the charge against the petitioner is of
rumour mongering, befooling people, defaming the University and
depicting the entire institutional set up in a very poor estimation.
This the petitioner did by sticking up articles on the Aligarh
Muslim University Network through different Websites and
allegations levelling against the University and its Authorities that
amounted to canard spreading.
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It is further alleged in the Office Memo that this was done


with an ulterior motive to defame the said authorities and arouse
disharmony and disturbance in order to create ill-will against the
University administration. This was described, by the University
while charging the petitioner, as punishable under Part-II 4 (iii),
(vii), (xv), (xxiii) of the Rule, 1985 aforesaid.

The petitioner was accordingly placed under suspension


pending detailed enquiry. The suspension was followed by a
charge sheet whereafter the petitioner prayed for an opportunity
by providing him full and complete information in order to set up
his defence and also sent letters indicating that none of the
allegations are true in the sense that the petitioner never
intended to stand up against the University. Rather he simply
attempted to expose the unwarranted and illegal acts of the
University. He, however, repeated his demand for supply of
evidence, inasmuch as, the petitioner was not having any
knowledge of the material which formed the basis of the
allegations under the aforesaid rules.

The petitioner submits that the entire procedure has been


carried out in violation of principles of natural justice without
providing him any evidence in order to rebut the charges and
further, that the University as a matter of fact did not hold any
enquiry, did not examine the witnesses who had made the
allegations against the petitioner and the articles allegedly
published or exhibited on the websites, did not amount to any
acts of indiscipline or misconduct. The impugned order of
punishment dated 14th July, 2010 as well as the appellate order
dated 1st of September 2010 both suffer from the same infirmities
and deserve to be set aside.
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An additional allegation has been made which was not


mentioned in the charge sheet or the Office memo to reject the
appeal namely the Articles dated 13.9.2010 and 1.9.2010 that
were reflected in the Press statement of Hindi Daily Jagran
published on 21st of September 2010. This was taken to be an
additional factor so as to impose the punishment of banishment
on the petitioner and which the Executive Council found to be
necessary in the background of the charges.

The University has filed a counter affidavit and has come up


with a defence that the petitioner's irresponsible behaviour was
continuing since long and his past conduct had brought about a
suspension in the year 2009 which came to be revoked on 2nd of
December, 2009, upon an undertaking having been given by the
petitioner to improve upon his behaviour and not reflect any act
of indiscipline in future. The University contends that this
undertaking has been violated by the petitioner and the
allegations having been found to be true. The same was meted
out with the punishments of issuance of Migration Certificate and
placing him out of bounds of the University. The University has
also taken a stand that the petitioner has nowhere denied the
allegations made against him and has all the time tried to avoid
giving an effective reply which clearly reflects that he has virtually
admitted the allegations made against him, and after giving full
opportunity to the petitioner the orders of punishment have been
passed. The petitioner was provided with every material and his
own acts as indicated in the websites leave no room for doubt
that the petitioner created hindrance in the administrative
working of the University including restoration of electric work and
further observed 'dharna' and actively participated in staging
demonstration that led to the closure of the University.

In essence the allegation made against the petitioner was


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that he physically and actively carried out a tirade against the


University and his inflammatory speeches led to the
malfunctioning of the University.

Smt. Sunita Agarwal, learned counsel for the University


submits that the petitioner was previously given an opportunity to
improve his conduct and he gave an undertaking to that effect but
he has again violated the same, hence, the punishment meted
out to him is absolutely proportionate and should not be
interfered with by this Court.

Having heard the petitioner in person at length and Smt.


Sunita Agarwal for the University, it is evident that the petitioner
repeatedly kept asking for the evidence other than what was
indicated as a material in the websites to enable him to set up his
defence. This included the information received by the University
from its authorities and the informants who allegedly gave
information about the acts of dharna and demonstration by the
petitioner. The source of such information and the allegation
particularly with regard to the incident at the Railway Station or
the blocking of restoration of electricity work and such other
allegations was also demanded.

The petitioner had made this request in writing which is on


record. These requests remained unattended to and the petitioner
was not provided either the names or the source of information or
any such material that was necessary to prove the charge relating
to the allegations contained against the petitioner. It is further
indicated that the Proctor himself was the complainant and the
petitioner did raise these objections but the reply received to the
petitioner was that the petitioner is adopting a recalcitrant
attitude and he was directed to appear in person again before the
disciplinary committee. The petitioner also informed the Vice
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Chancellor that in spite of his intervention the evidence has not


been provided and that was repeated in the letters dated 13th
July, 2010 and 7th July, 2010.

The Enquiry Report was submitted and the petitioner was


informed that he has transgressed his rights of freedom of speech
as guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India
and further he had been given full opportunity to defend himself.

The petitioner under the Right to Information Act obtained


information through Dr. Tariq Islam dated 2nd August, 2010 which
states as follows:

“Dr. Tariq Islam


General Secretary
R.T.I. Group
Dil Kusha, Zohra Bagh
Aligarh.

Please refer to your application received vide R.No.


253/Proc. dated 07.7.2010 seeking information under RTI Act.

The desired information as per this office available record


are as under:-

Q.No. Question Reply


1 Certified copy of the list of No list of such disgruntled
the mentioned disgruntled and sick minded peoples is
and sick minded people who available in this office
do not want to see peace, record.
progress and prosperity in
and around the campus in
whose hands the said Mr.
Md. Adil Hossain is playing.
2 The facts and reasons for No question arise to take
not taking action against the any action without having
mentioned people. any information against any
person.
3 The jurisdiction of the No record is available in this
University to be worried office about the worry of the
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about the “around the University at around the


campus”, which obviously is campus, however, the
the purview of the civil instant question has been
administration. transferred to the CPIO
Property Office to provide
University jurisdiction.
4 Certified copy of the No record is available in this
correspondence between the office about any
University and the civil correspondence into the
administration in this matter between Proctor
regard. Office and the Civil
Administration, the instant
question has been
transferred to the CPIO
Property Office to provide
record, if any.
5 The source of information The charge sheet issued vide
for the above together with D.No. 2177/Proc. dated
certified copy of the same. 09.06.2010 was prepared on
the basis of Enquiry report
including Annexure enclosed
30 pages. No other record
relating to this is available in
this office.
6 The name and designation No record is available in this
of the person/functionary office that who
who proposed the above (name/designation of the
matter to be made part of person/functionary)
the Charge sheet. proposed that the above
matter to be made part of
the charge sheet.
7 Certified list of the No such list of detrimental
detrimental things the said things or information is
Mr. Md. Adil Hossain was available in this office except
doing against the University the Enquiry report including
together with the criteria for Annexures which is self
deciding the same and the explanatory and the copy of
date, meeting number and the same has been provided
item number of the to you in response to the
resolution of the body Q.No. 05 above. Further, no
responsible for setting up record is available of
such criteria. meeting in which any
resolution passed for setting
up such criteria.
8 Certified copy of all the file Certified copies of
notings and correspondence relating to
correspondences in the case the case of Md. Adil Hossain
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of the said Mr. Md. Adil are enclosed two pages.


Hossain.
9 Certified copy of the view No such record is available
and proposal the University in this office.
has with regard to the
prosperity “around the
campus”.
10 The facts and reasons for No record is available of the
not attaching evidence with facts and reasons for not
the Charge sheet with which attaching evidences relating
the allegations are proposed to allegations, with the
to be substantiated together Charge sheet and no record
with the name and is available that whose
designation of the (name/designation) advice
functionary whose advice was followed in this regard.
was followed in this regard.

(Mohd. Naeem)
CPIO/Section Officer”

A perusal of this aforesaid information, therefore, also


indicates that the enquiry was conducted, in the absence of the
material that was sought to be utilized against the petitioner and
which has been made the basis of passing the impugned order.

Nonetheless the fact remains that the petitioner also was


liable to maintain a conduct of that of a student, inasmuch as, the
petitioner has entered the portals of the University to build his
career and not ruin the University. Free thoughts and their
expression are constitutional rights but they are subject to
restrictions. Any act of indisciplined behaviour can be subject
matter of censure and punishment. This growing atmosphere of
deviant behaviour and corresponding disproportionate knee-jerk
reactions are an outcome of deficient investments in personality
development. A student has to be groomed to smoother his
irrationality which is the duty of the mentor. Imparting education
bereft of moral grooming is an incomplete effort to prepare
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somebody for life. How to do this is not unknown and to cite a


humble example, one can conveniently refer to Common
Thoughts On Serious Subjects by Chester Macnaghter (Published
by Thacker, Spink and Co., London).

The student should also follow discipline, and not violence.


The land of Mahatma and Frontier Gandhi expects their message
to be spread and fostered and not individual acts to simply
overcome an identity crisis.

The petitioner may have acted in a manner in order to


protest against the illegal acts of the University and which may
not be personal or motivated but that conclusion could have been
arrived at only after the entire evidence was made available and
the petitioner was allowed his complete defence. Any unkind or
inconvenient expression may not necessarily be an act of
incitement to expose maladministration and corruption, one does
not ordinarily and normally use a very humble language. At the
same time it should not be intended to incite violence. The
university, therefore, while proceeding to measure the impact of
the utterances of the petitioner may not choose to inflate the
meaning and intent of the language used by the petitioner to an
extent that may be required beyond reasonable limits. For this
the university will have to exercise a judicious discretion.

An additional reason to interfere with the appellate order is


that it takes into account the publication of a news paper report
as a very serious demeanour on the part of the petitioner so as to
disentitle him from further remaining on the campus of the
University. This material was obviously not there in the allegation
in the charge sheet that was served on him and was published
later on. The petitioner was not even made aware of this
allegation that the same would be utilized at the appellate stage
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to disentitle him of the relief claimed by him before the Executive


Council. This in my opinion, also amounts to a violation of the
principles of natural justice. The petitioner ought to have been, at
least put to notice by the appellate authority that while
considering the imposition of punishment it was also proposing to
take that material in account which was not subject matter of
charge or consideration by the disciplinary authority.

In view of the conclusions drawn hereinabove, the orders


impugned are unsustainable and accordingly, the orders dated
13.7.2010 and 25.9.2010 are quashed.

The respondent disciplinary authority shall allow access of


the petitioner to the evidence as demanded by him and in case
any material is not available, specific response shall be given to
him before proceeding with the enquiry. The procedure shall be
completed as expeditiously as possible but not later than eight
weeks from the date of presentation of a certified copy of this
order before the said authority. The petitioner in the mean time
shall, however, be treated to be under suspension and shall be
allowed to pursue his course and complete the same if the
University ultimately exonerates him of the charges.

The writ petition is allowed. No order as to costs.

Dt. 14th December, 2010


Sahu