Libertatem Magazine

Delhi High Court Directs Admission of a Student in Delhi University Whose Admission Was Rejected Due to a Typographical Error

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The case revolves around a student seeking admission to Delhi University, which was rejected due to a typographical error. 

Brief Facts 

The Petitioner cleared the CAT entrance test and was provisionally admitted to MBA (International business) in Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University in the 8th List under the OBC Category. The Petitioner was required to submit the documents by 4 p.m. on 4th August 2020. Due to the raging pandemic, safety measures were imposed by the Uttar Pradesh Government where the Petitioner resides. Due to hurriedness, the Petitioner sent his documents to the wrong email address which mistakenly added an extra A to the email. The Petitioner being in constant touch with similarly placed candidates came to know that the payment link was received by the candidates. Seeking assistance from the University, he sent an email regarding the same on the 4th August 2020 and received a reply from the University at 8:43 p.m. on the same date that they had not received any documents from the concerned candidate. The Petitioner having discovered his error sent his documents to the University at 9.19 pm on 4th August 2020. The University on 5th August 2020 replied that the case of the Petitioner could not be considered due to the breach of timeline, but assured him that a Committee will look into the matter. The Committee also rejected his contention.  The decision of the University was challenged via a Writ. 

The Contention of the Petitioner

The Petitioner’s principal contention was that the Petitioner had erroneously sent the documents to an incorrect e-mail address within the time stipulated by the University and had corrected his error on the same day at 9:15 PM. The rejection order of the University was unreasonable and arbitrary. 

The Contention of the Respondents 

 The Respondents contended that the University was duty-bound to conform to the conditions mentioned in the communication sent to the Petitioner concerning the submission of documents. The counsel for the Respondents relied upon the rulings of Pallavi Sharma vs College of Vocational Studies and  Divya Bansal v the University of Delhi to emphasize his point that the University’s instructions could not be bypassed. The Counsel further submitted that the writ court ought not to substitute its judgment for that of the administrative authority and relied on Sections 17 and 32 of the University of Delhi Act, 1922, to emphasize the fact that the Faculty was an Authority under the Act.

The decision of the Court 

 The Court quashed the decision of the University and granted admission to the Petitioner in the next academic year, i.e., 2021-22.  The Court placed reliance on the conduct of the Petitioner and concluded that the Petitioner responded with alacrity regarding his typological error and informed the University about the same. The Petitioner did not delay his action for duly enforcement of his legal right. The Court in its wisdom reasoned that the decision of the University was unduly harsh on a young student who committed a small error under duress circumstances. The Court strengthened its reasoning stating that when tenders were floated by public authorities, the Courts had distinguished between essential eligibility conditions(which must be strictly enforced) and ancillary or subsidiary conditions (in which some flexibility was permitted). When some flexibility was provided in commercial transactions, some flexibility could be granted to the Petitioner. Further, the Court rejected the contention of the Respondents regarding Sections 17 and 32 of the University of Delhi Act, 1922, by ruling that every instruction or direction issued by an “authority” had to be examined on its terms.  Further, to strengthen its reasoning, the Court stated that there was nothing on record to support the conclusion that the deadline prescribed in the communication dated 02.08.2020 was like a “regulation”, by which the University was compelled to reject the Petitioner’s representations. The Court further rejected the precedents stated by the Counsel of the Respondents due to a difference of facts and circumstances.

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