Sympathy can never be allowed to substitute Justice, Delhi High Court
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Sympathy can never be allowed to substitute Justice, Delhi High Court

Aditi Singh

In a recent judgment, the Delhi High Court stated that sympathy would not persuade it to grant justice that would fly in the face of statutory provisions.

“Sympathy can never be allowed to substitute justice”, the Court said.

The observations were recorded in a judgment passed by a Single Judge Bench of Justice C Hari Shankar in a petition filed by a student suffering from an ailment known as paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia.

The petitioner sought a direction to the Guru Govind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU) to issue an admit card in his name for the upcoming examinations. He had taken admission in the B.Com (Hons) Course at an institute affiliated to GGSIPU. Despite suffering from the ailment, the petitioner successfully cleared the examinations in the first three semesters of the course.

However, owing to the fact that the he had attended only 21% of the classes in the fourth semester, the GGSIPU refused to issue him an admit card for the upcoming examinations.

The petitioner had approached the GGSIPU with a request that his case be treated as a special case, in view of his long-standing medical history. After the request was not entertained, the petitioner moved the Delhi High Court.

The Court noted that the writ petition itself admitted that as per Clause 9.1 of the Ordinance governing the GGSIPU, a student was required to attend 75 percent classes in order to be eligible to appear in the end semester examination. The Ordinance permitted relaxation of only up to 5 percent, with the express stipulation that a student who has aggregate attendance of less than 70 percent in a semester shall not be allowed to give the end semester examination.

Further, as per Clause 9.2, a student detained for shortage of attendance was mandated to take re-admission in the semester for which his attendance fell short. Such a student would have to repeat all papers of the said semester. The University argued that this was the only course of action available to the petitioner.

The Court observed that the petitioner’s claim effectively rested “solely on the ground of sympathy”.

Relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in Ashok Kumar Thakur v. University of H.P, it was recorded that a Court cannot direct or compel an authority to do something which is beyond its legal competence.

The Court observed that although certain prescriptions and discharge summaries were submitted, there was no prescription or documents which would explain the petitioner’s shortage of attendance in the 4th semester of his B.Com (Hons) course, which commenced in January 2019.

In any event, the Court said, it was not possible for it to issue any mandamus to GGSIPU in direct contravention of Clauses 9.1 and 9.2 of the Ordinance.

“This Court regrets, therefore, that it is unable to offer any succour to the petitioner, though it sympathises with his condition.

Sympathy must always inform and temper, but can never be allowed to substitute, justice.”

The writ petition was thus dismissed in limine without any costs.

The petitioner was represented by Advocates Subodh K Pathak, Shashi Ranjan and Adil.

The University was represented by Advocate Jasbir Bidhuri.

[Read Judgment]

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