A division bench of the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday put a stay on its single-judge’s order directing Bathinda-based Adesh University to pay Rs. 16.8 lakh (Rs 20,000 each) to its 84 ‘illegally counselled’ students for the MBBS course for 2014-15.
The division bench headed by justice Surya Kant also issued a notice of motion to the Punjab government for October 13 to explain as to why time-bound directions be not issued to decide on the university’s ordinance and statute. The state government also has to explain as to why Rs. 16.8-lakh fine slapped on the university by the single-judge bench be done away with.
The directions came during the hearing of a letters patent appeal filed by the university, challenging the single-judge bench order passed on July 31. The single judge had observed that the university had done illegal provisional counselling on June 25 in “undue haste” for its 250 medical seats (150 MBBS and 100 BDS) and had slapped a fine of Rs. 16.8 lakh for its “illegal action”, adding that the university should refund fee to all 84 selected candidates.
The court was informed by the university on Monday that the single judge had erred in his judgment of slapping a fine on the university since it had conducted provisional counselling after taking due permission from the court on June 23. Hence, there was no illegality in admitting 84 MBBS aspirants in the first counselling held on June 25. Therefore, it was submitted, the single judge ought not to have directed the university to also refund fees to 84 candidates.
However, speaking for the division bench, justice Surya Kant said, “What kind of message you will leave to the public when you don’t have credibility as you are admitting students without your ordinance and statues being approved by the government? If you have a problem with the state, you should have made a prayer to direct the state to clear the pending ordinance and statute.”