Is Monetary Compensation Sole Remedy For Wrongful Deprivation Of Admission? SC Refers Matter To Larger Bench

It said the decision in ‘Chandigarh Administration & Anr. v. Jasmine Kaur’ needs reconsideration.

Can compensation be an adequate or sole remedy for wrongful deprivation of admission, a Supreme Court Bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice RF Nariman, in S. Krishna Sradha vs. State Of Andhra Pradesh, asked itself while referring to the correctness of Chandigarh Administration case for re-consideration by a larger bench.

It was held in Chandigarh Administration & Anr. v. Jasmine Kaur that grant of compensation is the only possible remedy in cases of wrongful deprivation of admission. In the said case, the court had held that there cannot be telescoping of unfilled seats of one year with permitted seats of the subsequent year i.e., carry forward of seats cannot be permitted how much ever meritorious a candidate is and deserved admission.

Opining that this decision needs reconsideration, the bench said compensation could not be the adequate or sole remedy for wrongful deprivation of admission, as it affects the academic career of a student. There may be cases where restitution may be too harsh. Then, as we are inclined to think, telescoping albeit reasonably is not an impossible one, the bench remarked.

The court also observed that where doctrine of restitution can be applied and there is no impossibility, it would be anathema to the cause of justice to deny the same. It is seemly to appreciate that restitution as a concept, as is traditionally understood, is the restoration of an aggrieved party to his condition prior to the wrongdoing. It could be limited to monetary quantification only if the breach is not capable of being remedied, the bench opined.

It observed: “When the courts have gone to the extent of saying that for the fault of the court, the litigant should not suffer, it is unimaginable that for the fault of the administrators or the counselling body or for some kind of evil designer, grant of compensation should be regarded as the lone remedy.”

In the instant case, the High Court had held that the candidate was entitled to get priority, but denied the benefit of admission placing reliance on the decision in Jasmin Kaur’s case and granted compensation of Rupees five lakhs only. The candidate then approached the Apex Court.

The Court said that a young student should not feel that his entire industry to get himself qualified in the examination becomes meaningless because of some fault or dramatic design of certain authorities and they can get away by giving some amount as compensation. It may not only be agonizing but may amount to grant of premium either to laxity or evil design or incurable greed of the authorities. We are disposed to think, in such a situation, justice may be farther away and the knocking at the doors of a constitutional court, a Sisyphean endeavour, an exercise in futility, the Bench said.

Read the Judgment here.

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