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Friday, June 27, 2008

Educational Institutions Cannot Hold Back Certificates : Madras High Court

Educational institutions cannot hold back certificates: court

Mohamed Imranullah S.
Says they cannot be retained for non-remittance of fees

MADURAI: Educational institutions cannot hold back mark sheets, convocation certificates, course completion certificates or transfer certificates of students for non-payment of fees, the Madras High Court has ruled.

Disposing of a writ petition filed before the Madurai Bench, Justice K. Suguna said the academic certificates could not be termed ‘goods’ to enable the educational institutions to withhold them.

She pointed out that the Supreme Court, in R.D. Saxena vs. Balram Prasad Sharma (2000) case, had taken a view that a lien (right to possess property of another person until a debt owned by the latter is discharged) could be exercised only on marketable goods.

The Judge agreed with the arguments advanced by advocate G.R. Swaminathan that academic certificates were not saleable commodities, and hence could not be retained for non-remittance of fees. Counsel had voluntarily assisted the court though he was not representing any of the parties.

The petitioner, R. Pushpa Latha of Kanyakumari, said a private college of teacher education refused to issue academic certificates to her even after completing the Bachelor of Education course.

She alleged that the college demanded more money despite receiving the entire course fee without issuing any receipt during admission.

On the contrary, the college claimed that the petitioner had not paid the fees and owed Rs.35,000. Contesting the claim, petitioner’s counsel A. Dennison said her client would not have been permitted to appear for the examination without paying the fees.

No documents

Pointing out that there were no documents available on both sides to prove their contesting claims, Ms. Justice Suguna said: “I do not like to express any opinion with regard to the payment of fees or non-payment of fees. It is open to the institution to take appropriate steps against the petitioner, if she had not paid the fees, in the manner known to law.”

Ms. Justice Suguna also said that a writ could be issued against private institutions performing a public duty, though they do not fall under the definition of ‘State’ under Article 12 of the Constitution.

She pointed out that the proposition was laid down by a Full Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1998.

The Full Bench had said: “Powers of the High Courts (to issue writs) under Article 226 of the Constitution are wider than those of the Court of King’s Bench in England…The words “any person or authority” used in Article 226 do not mean only State or statutory authorities. These cover any person or body performing a public duty.”

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Court directive to Directorate of Medical Education, KMC

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the Directorate of Medical Education and the Kilpauk Medical College (KMC) to make photostat copies of original certificates, attest their authenticity and hand them over to petitioner-doctors to enable them to apply for super-speciality courses.

For obtaining the photostat copies, the petitioners have to submit a formal letter/application indicating the course and the institution they are going to join for pursuing the super-speciality courses, Justice M. Sathyanarayanan said in his interim order on a batch of writ petitions.

The court said the petitioners applying for super-specialty courses should file an affidavit of undertaking before the court stating that the photostat copies of the certificates were required only for for the super-speciality courses.

A writ petitioner, K.K. Ravishankar of Madurai, sought the quashing of a government order of June last year by which the Directorate of Medical Education had proposed to fill the vacancies of Assistant Surgeons in government hospitals and medical colleges from among non-service post-graduate candidates who had joined the post-graduate courses in 2005. The petitioner said he completed his MD (paediatrics) course at the KMC. For applying for super-speciality course he applied to the college seeking the return of his original documents. But the impugned government order based upon the bond prevented the institution from handing over all the original certificates.