Two decades on, varsity topper to get gold medal
An engineering graduate who topped his course in 1992 is likely to get his gold medal now, with the Punjab and Haryana high court directing Panjab University here to honour him.
Rubinderjit Singh Brar, a civil engineering graduate from Chandigarh's leading Punjab Engineering College (PEC), had topped the bachelor of engineering (civil) examination held by the university in 1992. He had scored 6,497 marks out of 8,000 and the PEC authorities declared him the topper of the course.
However, university authorities refused to give him the gold medal saying, under varsity rules it could only be given to a student who had cleared all examinations of the course in the first attempt.
In Brar's case, he was forced to drop one theory examination of the fourth semester in May 1990 due to serious illness. He cleared the examination in the first available opportunity in January 1991.
"I represented to the university to give me the gold medal, as all toppers get it, but they declined. They said this could only be given to students who clear all their exams in the first attempt. Following the refusal by the university, I filed a case with the high court in 1993 itself," Brar told IANS here.
A division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court here, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Surya Kant, has directed the university to give Brar the gold medal, along with all other recognitions he is entitled to, within six weeks..
Brar, who is now working as an excise and taxation official in Punjab's Mohali town, had joined the engineering course in 1988 and passed out in 1992 with honours.
"As per the university regulations, a candidate who stands first in the examination is entitled to be awarded a gold medal by the university. However, the medal was not awarded to Brar on the ground that as per the university rules, a medal can be granted only to those candidates who clear all exams 'at the first attempt'," Dheeraj Jain, lawyer for Brar, said here.
Jain, appearing for the petitioner, argued that the ground on which the medal has been denied to the petitioner by the university is erroneous and the petitioner is fully entitled to the award of the said medal.
He said the petitioner could not appear for the theory examination because he was very seriously ill and had been advised complete bed rest during that time.
Jain said: "As Brar did not appear for the theory exam, it could not be considered his 'first attempt'."
He pointed out that Brar appeared for the said exam in the very next available opportunity in 1991 and cleared the examination in that very attempt.
"Therefore, he has cleared all his examinations in his 'first attempt'," Jain added.
Quoting university rules, Jain argued that 'first attempt' has been defined by the university as 'first time a candidate has actually sat for the subject in the university examination'.
Brar, a meritorious student throughout his career, also stood first in the entire university in the master of engineering examination held in 1994. He also cleared the national and state civil services examinations later.