WP(C) No. 38033 of 2016 (D). Case: Divya Shaji and Ors. Vs Admission Supervisory Committee For Professional Colleges and Ors.. High Court of Kerala (India)

Case NumberWP(C) No. 38033 of 2016 (D)
CounselFor Appellant: Jacob P. Alex and Joseph P. Alex, Advs. and For Respondents: Mary Benjamin, SC
JudgesP.R. Ramachandra Menon and P. Somarajan, JJ.
IssueConstitution of India - Articles 19(1)(g), 226
Judgement DateJanuary 11, 2017
CourtHigh Court of Kerala (India)


P.R. Ramachandra Menon, J.

1. The petitioners are students pursuing the MBA course in the 4th respondent College, under the NRI quota. They are before this Court challenging Ext. P12 order passed by the first respondent/Admission Supervisory Committee (ASC in short), in so far as approval of Admission has been turned down holding that they were not duly qualified to have obtained Admission. The petitioners also challenge Ext. P8 order dated 07.06.2016 passed by the ASC, stipulating that no entrance examination conducted by non-governmental agencies shall be accepted for admission to MBA course except KMAT (Kerala) (conducted by the Universities in Kerala, under the supervision of the ASC), CAT (conducted by the Indian Institute of Management) and CMAT (conducted by the AICTE) and that MAT Score (conducted by All India Management Association) shall not be accepted for MBA admission after May, 2016. The petitioners seek for a declaration that they are entitled to continue the study.

2. The 4th respondent Institution, who is running an MBA course is stated as having approval of the AICTE vide Ext. P3. The said Institution is affiliated to the third respondent/University, who has issued Ext. P2 Regulations for MBA (2016). The 4th respondent Institution had published Ext. P1 Prospectus for MBA. The petitioners took part in the test and interview conducted by the Educational Institution, pursuant to which they were offered seats for the said course in the NRI quota in month of July, 2016. It is stated that they have satisfied the fees and are pursuing the studies accordingly. It is also stated that their admissions were approved by the third respondent/University, as disclosed from the Student Details Report published by the third respondent, vide Ext. P4. In the course of time, the petitioners appeared for the first semester MBA examinations as well. A copy of the first semester results has been produced as Ext. P5. Incidentally, it is pointed out that they had participated in the Management Aptitude Test (MAT) conducted by All India Management Association (AIMA) in September, 2016. Copies of the MAT score secured by them have been produced as Exts. P6 and P7 respectively.

3. As per Ext. P11(a) letter dated 20.10.2016, the 4th respondent Institution requested the first respondent/Committee to approve the admission of the petitioners and others concerned. After considering the request, the first respondent, vide Ext. P12 approved the admission of only '31' students and rejected the candidature of '10' students including the petitioners, holding that they were not qualified. This is sought to be challenged in this writ petition along with the challenge raised against Ext. P8 proceedings of the ASC dated 07.06.2016 holding no Entrance Examination conducted by the Non-Governmental Agencies shall be accepted for admission to MBA Course, except KMAT, CAT and CMAT and further that MAT score (in the examinations conducted by AIMA shall not be accepted after May 2016.

4. Heard the learned counsel for the petitioners and the different learned Standing Counsel for the respondents 1 to 3.

5. Mr. Jacob Alex, the learned counsel appearing for the petitioners submits that the challenge is mainly two fold. Firstly, it is contended that the first respondent does not have any power, jurisdiction or competence to have issued Ext. P8/P12; more so when the admission of the petitioners was already approved by the University as disclosed from the particulars published by them vide Ext. P4. It is further contended that the petitioners are belonging to NRI category, who stand on a different footing and by virtue of settled law on the subject, particularly the verdict passed by a Division Bench of this Court in W.P(C) 14708 of 2012 (dated 18.12.2012) it is not all necessary for the NRI candidates to clear any eligibility test for getting admissions for the professional courses. As such, they form a different class to have been dealt with separately, which aspect was omitted to be considered by the Committee while passing Ext. P12 order. It is further contended that the first respondent Committee does not have any authority to have declared that the MAT Score shall not be the basis of selection after May 2016; when it is a National level test, conducted by the All India Management Association. Such a stipulation is stated as contrary to Ext. P13 Resolution dated 17.06.2004 issued by the Department of Secondary and Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India streamlining the admissions to MBA and such other courses, whereby it has been stipulated that MAT shall be one of the 5 National Entrance tests and that all Institutions admitting students on All India basis will have to opt for one of these 'five' examinations. It is also contended that 'MBA' is not a course coming within the purview of Sec. 2(r) of Act 19 of 2006. The learned Counsel also pointed out that the issue whether the MAT conducted by the All India Management Association would stand excluded was not specifically considered by this Court in Exts. P9 to P11 judgments and hence the matter requires a fresh look.

6. The learned Standing Counsel for the first respondent/Committee points out that the idea and understanding of the petitioners is thoroughly wrong and misconceived. The scope and authority of the first respondent Committee to deal with the admissions, deriving its powers specifically under Act 19 of 2006 [The Kerala Professional Colleges or Institutions (Prohibition of capitation Fee, Regulation of Admission, Fixation of Non-Exploitative Fee and other measures to ensure equity and excellence in Professional Education) Act, 2006] has already been considered by a Division Bench of this Court in 2013 (3) KLT 316 [Kerala Private Medical College Management Association vs. Admission Supervisory Committee for Professional Colleges) and it has been held that the Committee is having ample power to deal with the subject, to the extent it is required to streamline the admission proceedings ensuring that merit is never compromised and thus satisfying the 'Triple Tests' stipulated by the Supreme Court, with the intent to maintain fairness and transparency, giving paramount importance to merit; at the same time ensuring that there is no profiteering/exploitation. The validity of the Act itself was under challenge earlier; but interference made was only with regard to Section 3 and some incidental provisions, as per the decision reported in 2007 (1) KLT 409 (Lisie Medical and Educational Institutions vs. State of Kerala) and hence power of the Committee to deal with the issue stands confirmed.

7. The petitioners, who are the students were given admission by the 4th respondent Institution in July 2016 without satisfying any eligibility test, even as per Ext. P13. The test and interview conducted by the 4th respondent/Institution, if any, cannot be treated as a National level Test coming within the purview of Ext. P13 issued by the Ministry or such other test as envisaged or permitted to be conducted by the Supreme Court, more so when Ext. P13 was having application only with regard to the 2005-2006. For the very same reason, Ext. P6/P7 MAT Score of 'September, 2016' cannot have any application to justify the admission given in July, 2016. The version of the petitioners that there was a proper process of Selection as mentioned in paragraph 40 of the TMA Pai Foundation vs. State of Karnataka [(2002) 8 SCC 481], is not liable to the accepted. According to the petitioners, based on the so called test conducted by the 4th respondent Institution, they were selected and admitted by the Institution and their admission was approved by the third respondent University as borne by Ext. P4. As per the relevant provisions of law, particularly the contents of Act 19 of 2006, no such admission could have been registered as valid, without the approval of the Committee. Rule 5 of Ext. P2 Regulations issued by the third respondent University in respect of MBA, 2016, stipulates that, notwithstanding anything that are stated in the Rules and Regulations, admission policy and procedure shall be decided from time to time by following the guidelines issued by the Government of Kerala and the Government of India. It was to streamline the process of...

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