Education – College – living together – allegations of misconduct – termination order – serious breach of discipline of the College – Held, This is not a mere case of falling in love; but two students taking the drastic step of eloping and living together without even contracting a marriage. As consenting adults they could definitely act according to their volition. But, here they could not have even legally entered into a marriage. When taking such drastic step for the sake of love, as adults, they should also be ready to face the consequences. The Management’s concern of setting an example to the other students and ensuring maintenance of discipline in the educational institution cannot be easily brushed aside.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA ATERNAKULAM
K. VINOD CHANDRAN, J.
W.P (c) No. 17243 of 2016
Dated this the 15th day of June, 2016
X (Name Withheld)
BY ADV. SRI.K.V.ANIL KUMAR
1. UNIVERSITY OF KERALA, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, PIN-695 001, REPRESENTED BY ITS REGISTRAR.
2. CONTROLLER OF EXAMINATIONS, UNIVERSITY OF KERALA, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM – PIN-695 001.
3. THE DISTRICT COLLECTOR, COLLECTORATE, KOLLAM, PIN-691 001.
4. THE PRINCIPAL, MAR THOMA COLLEGE OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, CHADAYAMANGALAM (PO), AYUR, KOLLAM DISTRICT, PIN-691 001.
R4 BY ADV. SRI.ENOCH DAVID SIMON JOEL BY SRI.PAUL JACOB, SC, UNIVERSITY OF KERALA BY SR. GOVERNMENT PLEADER SRI. MANOJ P. KUNJACHAN
J U D G M E N T
The petitioner has been sent out of the Course she was carrying on and the College, by Exhibit P2 order of the Principal. The allegation as is evident from a reading of Exhibit P2 order was that the petitioner eloped with a boy student studying in the same class and was staying in a lodge at Trivandum from where, the couple were apprehended by the Police, on a man missing complaint and produced before the Magistrate, who released the individuals to their respective parents.
2. The management initiated disciplinary action against the students and both were sent out of the College. The petitioner challenges Exhibit P2 order on the ground that the petitioner can only be accused of having fallen in love with one of her collagemates and there cannot be a termination order on that basis, especially considering the fact that the petitioner is in the fourth semester of her course, having duration of six semester and considering the excellent academic record of the petitioner.
3. This Court initially requested the learned Senior Counsel appearing for the fourth respondent to explore, possibilities of admitting the petitioner back to college, on conditions. The learned Senior Counsel, however, after consultation with the management expressed his helplessness. The management has filed a detailed counter affidavit pointing out that a detailed enquiry was conducted. The management is deeply concerned about the discipline to be maintained in the educational institution, which concern is shared by this Court also. In such circumstances, the matter was heard in detail.
4. As has been indicated above, the Principal on detection of a misconduct had constituted a five member Committee of senior faculty members of the College. The Committee had summoned the students and the parents before them. Both the students admitted to have acted, as alleged and apologised for the same. The Committee by Exhibit R4(a), found that it was an unprecedented incident and the discipline of the education institution itself is affected. The Committee and the Management were also concerned with the fact that the boy who eloped with the petitioner was not of marriageable age. It is in such circumstances that the petitioner was directed to be sent away from the College.
5. It is also submitted by the learned Senior Counsel that there had been many proceedings initiated against the Management by the petitioner before various forums, one of which is produced as Exhibit R4(d). Before the District Legal Services Authority, it is submitted that the petitioner and the boy agreed to receive Transfer Certificate (TC) from the College and the Management too agreed to issuing the TC without any reservation and without referring to the allegations of misconduct. It is after that, the petitioner has approached before this Court.
6. The reliance placed by the petitioner on Exhibit P7, is only to be noticed to be rejected. The District Collector has absolutely no jurisdiction in the matter and cannot interfere in the administration of the educational institution. The University, on the other hand, to which the Management College is affiliated refused to interfere with the action initiated by the Management by Exhibit P4.
7. The Management rightly has raised grounds of serious breach of discipline of the College. A Division Bench of this Court in
Headmaster, Poilkavu H.S. v. Murali [1994 (2) KLT 518]
considering the application of principles of natural justice while dealing with the misconduct of a student held that what is required is ‘fairness’ in action, based on Rule 6 of KER 1959. The Court emphasised the pivotal role of the H.M., here the Principal, in maintenance of discipline. Here there is no allegation of fairness having not been shown. There was an enquiry and the students admitted the misconduct.
8. This is not a mere case of falling in love; but two students taking the drastic step of eloping and living together without even contracting a marriage. As consenting adults they could definitely act according to their volition. But, here they could not have even legally entered into a marriage. When taking such drastic step for the sake of love, as adults, they should also be ready to face the consequences. The Management’s concern of setting an example to the other students and ensuring maintenance of discipline in the educational institution cannot be easily brushed aside.
9. The impulsive act of the petitioner has resulted in the drastic consequences. Having gone through the report of the five member Committee as also the order of the Principal and also noticing the fact that the petitioner along with a classmate had eloped and had been residing elsewhere from where they were apprehended by the Police, this Court is not inclined to exercise discretion in favour of the petitioner to interfere with the orders passed by the Management.
The writ petition will stand dismissed. No order as to costs.