‘There is nothing in the unamended provisions of Ordinance 5 that can be read to mean that a student, who could not appear in an examination on account of medical concerns, has to be treated as a student re-appearing in an examination.’
Abhinav Pandey would get a gold medal for his remarkable academic performance in the five year B.A.LL.B. (Hons.) course as the division bench of the Delhi high court dismissed the writ appeal filed by Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University.
The single bench had earlier allowed his writ petition challenging denial of the gold medal despite his having obtained the highest CPI, on the ground that he had not cleared the two examinations in the first attempt in the year 2013 and had only cleared the same in the next academic session, in the year 2014.
Ordinance 5 at the relevant time states that the student obtaining the highest CPI (Cumulative Performance Index) at the end of the study in a given programme group/programmes of study shall be eligible for the award of the gold medal and/or exemplary performance certificate, if the student has passed every paper/course in the first attempt.
The arguments in this case mostly revolved around the interpretation of ‘first attempt’. Abhinav’s counsel contended that where a student was unable to appear due to medical problems or deliberate cases where students choose not to appear in the first available opportunity but rather in subsequent academic sessions, cannot be included in the term “first attempt”.
Referring to various judgments cited across the bar, the bench comprising of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Rekha Palli observed that there is nothing in the unamended provisions of Ordinance 5 that can be read to mean that a student, who could not appear in an examination on account of medical concerns, has to be treated as a student re-appearing in an examination. It said: “We are of the considered opinion that the term “first attempt” as occurring in the unmodified provisions of Ordinance 5 of the appellant/University cannot take in its sweep, situations where a student could not, as a consequence of severe medical issues, give an examination when it was first due. Thus, in the facts of the instant case, we have no hesitation in arriving at the conclusion that the respondent no.1 having been prevented due unavoidable medical concerns from appearing in the aforesaid subject papers in the first instance, during the Sixth End Semester Examinations, he ought not to be penalized or deprived of the fruits of his labour and well-deserved merit.”