The Delhi High Court has put an ad-interim stay on conferment of University Medal and also the Prof Savitri Sinha Smriti Swarna Padak, and the Maithili Sharan Gupta Puraskar, during the 95th annual convocation ceremony scheduled to be held tomorrow.
A bench of Justice C Hari Shankar ordered that there would be stay on conferment of these honours on two students – one from Hindu college and other from Miranda House -- whose names appeared in the list of meritorious students to be awarded the Savitri Sinha Smriti Swarna Padak and the University Medal respectively, in the convocation ceremony.
The order of the court comes on a petition moved by two DU students named Shivani Jindal and Abhishek Kumar Upadhyay through advocate Prashant Manchanda challenging an Executive Council Resolution according to which the award of Gold Medals and Prizes are to be considered only for candidates who have passed the examination on the basis of original result declared by the University and not on the basis of result post-revaluation or improvement.
Shivani topped in BSc (Botany) in year 2017 while Abhishek topped MA (Hindi Literature) after a revaluation of mark showed that they had earned the highest scores.
While Shivani had earlier scored 3254 out of 3500 marks, Abhishek passed MA (Hindi Literature) with 1096 out of 1600 marks. Post revaluation, there scores were 3273 and 1108 respectively.
The petitioners were declared toppers on February 15, 2018. However, their names did not figure in the merit list issued by the Delhi University in October for the conferment of the awards and prizes.
Prof Savitri Sinha Smriti Swarna Padak is a medal awarded each year to a candidate who obtains the highest percentage of marks in M.A. Examination in Hindi (General), obtaining Ist division and Abhishek stakes claim on it while Shivani says her name should have been in the list for university medal.
After hearing Manchanda, Justice Shankar said, “Prima Facie, I do not see how a distinction can be drawn between a candidate who asks for revaluation and gets his marks increase and a candidate who doesn’t ask for revaluation. This aspect is no longer res integra having been dealt with in Kumar Saurabh vs Delhi University”.
Manchanda had argued that DU’s conduct was in clear violation of the high court order in Kumar Saurabh Vs the University of Delhi wherein in similar circumstances, the court had said, “If marks obtained upon re-evaluation are not taken into account, which implicitly amounts to acceptance of a situation that the examiner made a mistake in the first instance, it would lead to an absurd situation. More so, in a case where re-evaluation leads to enhancement of marks, in a given case. Similarly, failure to consider the marks obtained in improvement exams could lead to unfair consequences, as noticed in Nandita Narain's case.”
Justice Shankar also noted Manchanda’s submission that the Delhi high Court, the Bombay High Court and the Karnataka High Court have struck down similar provisions for clashing with Article 14 of the Constitution.
While granting an ad-interim stay, the court also ordered the respondents to file a counter-affidavit while listing the matter for December 18.