The Bombay high court has said the University of Mumbai can't impose penalty on educational institutions for late submission of provisional eligibility certificates without passing an ordinance. The court gave this order while quashing a university resolution imposing a penalty of Rs10,000 per student on a batch of 54 of the Mulund-based RR Educational Trust.
A division bench of justices VM Kanade and GS Kulkarni, in a 15-page order, said, "The relevancy to have an ordinance or regulation for such (an) issue also becomes significant so as to avoid any discretionary exercise of powers by the officers of the university. Such issues are hence required to be addressed by framing an ordinance, rule or regulation which would bring arrant uniformity in the functioning of the university."
A petition by the Trust, which conducts Bachelors in Education course, had challenged the university's decision to impose a penalty on it per student through its communication in 2007, 2012 and 2013. The penalty had been imposed for issuing provisional eligibility certificates in favour of 54 students admitted for the academic year 2007-08 after due date.
The petitioners had argued that students from other universities do not receive their migration certificate and other documents from their parent university in time, which causes delay in submitting forms for certificates. The varsity's decision to impose a penalty was arbitrary, the petition had said.
The university, however, supported its action stating that eligibility forms were submitted late and the Trust should not have admitted the students until it received the documents.
The court, after examination of the resolution and other documents, said, "We have no hesitation in holding that the order of imposing a penalty is issued without any authority of law and (is) illegal and we, accordingly, quash and set aside the same."
The court directed the university to return the penalty amount collected by it within two weeks and forthwith release the degrees of the affected students.