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‘Colleges Cannot Step into Shoes of Students & File Writ Petitions’: Karnataka HC Imposes Costs on 2 Dental Colleges

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Karnataka High Court Law Insider

Tanisha Rana

Published on: October 9, 2022 at 20:11 IST

In an effort to fill open seats in its undergraduate programme for the academic year 2021–2022, two private dental colleges filed petitions on behalf of students, wasting the court’s time and incurring costs of Rs. 1 lakh each.

The petitioners, according to a bench of Justices B Veerappa and KS Hemalekha, did not come before the court with clean hands, spent more than half a day of court time, and took the time away from other real litigants.

The Court ruled that colleges are not permitted to approach the Court on behalf of prospective students in order to fill its open seats.

“The colleges cannot step into the shoes of students and file the writ petitions,” the order stated.

Six students and the colleges, which are administered by the same administration, submitted petitions together, demonstrating that the students were in the colleges’ “care” even though their admissions were not yet confirmed.

They asked the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) to issue a directive allowing students to register for the mop-up round of admission more than a month after it had ended.

It was argued that because KEA’s portal was inoperable, the students were unable to register for the mop-up round in May 2022.

The Court questioned how the students came under the care of the colleges when they were not even students there, and it came to the conclusion that the colleges had sought the Court in an effort to fill open positions.

As a result, the bench declared that the colleges had not approached the court with good intentions.

“We are bowled over as to how the students come under the ‘care of’ the college of which they are not the students at all. This clearly indicates, only with an intention to fill up the vacant seats, the petitioner No.1-colleges have adopted the indirect method of getting an order from the Court and therefore, have not approached the Court with clean hands,” it stated.

In addition, it was said that if the petitioner-students had truly been denied the seats for which they were qualified, they would have independently petitioned the Court, and it was added that colleges could not stand in the place of students.

“But that is not the case in the present writ petitions. The colleges cannot step into the shoes of students and file the writ petitions,” the Court made it clear.

In light of this, it was decided that the colleges had not only spent their own time and the time of the petitioner-students but also unnecessarily dragged the KEA and other statutory authorities before the courts, costing them money for pointless litigation.

The Court also emphasised the current pattern of speculative lawsuits being filed in court and declared that it has a responsibility to filter out such lawsuits.

“It is the duty of the Courts to ensure that such litigations shall be weeded out at the first instance rather than allowing to be festered and thereby coming in the way of genuine litigants seeking justice treating the Court as “Temple of Justice” and to protect precious public & judicial time of the court,” the order said.

As a result, the plea was denied and costs were ordered to be paid to the Bengaluru Advocates’ Association.

Case Title: Sri Venkateshwara Dental College And Hospital vs. The State of Karnataka and Ors.