Calcutta HC Division Bench affirms single judge decision to quash penalty imposed on student without fair hearing
Litigation News

Calcutta HC Division Bench affirms single judge decision to quash penalty imposed on student without fair hearing

The student had been barred from taking his 12th exam on allegations of having cheated on his model exam.

Meera Emmanuel

A Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court on Monday dismissed an appeal filed challenging the verdict of a single judge to quash the bar imposed by a school to prevent a student from taking his 12th Board exam, on allegations that he had cheated on its model.

Notably, the single judge had quashed the penalty on account of the school having denied the student an opportunity to defend himself.

On appeal, the Bench of Justices Saugata Bhattacharyya and Soumen Sen pointed out that in the matter of Bolpur High School (H.S.) & Anr.v State of West Bengal that,

"... as observed by the learned Single Judge, apart from the fact that there is lack of hearing before imposing harsh punishment affecting the academic career of the student, the fact remains that the students who have failed in up to five subjects have been allowed to sit in the Higher Secondary Examination with an undertaking from the parents of such students."

That being said, the Court recorded its disapproval over the School authorities preventing the student from filling the forms required to apply for the exam.

The Bench proceeded to dismiss the appeal and direct the School to allow the student to carry out the formalities to write the exam, after observing,

"We concur with the observation made by the learned Single Judge that any punishment imposed on the student in not permitting to take part in the Higher Secondary Examination would not only cause harm to his career in terms of the student losing a year but shall leave a permanent scar and stigma on his personality and academic career for the rest of his life."

On February 3, Justice Shekhar B Saraf had allowed the student's plea in the matter. While the judge noted that courts are generally slow to interfere in decisions taken by school authorities, particularly when it comes to allowing students to appear in High Secondary exams, he also opined that the instant case required intervention. The judge observed,

“… the student has a right to be given a fair hearing and specific norms and regulations should be in existence. In absence of any such norms and regulations, the actions of the School Authorities may at times fall in the arena of whimsical and capricious decisions resulting in victimization of certain students."

[Read the order]

Cal HC DB judgment - Fair hearing before penalty.pdf
Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news