The Delhi High Court ruled that educational activity cannot be allowed in a basement used for parking purposes.
It is the petitioners’ case that since the academic session 2014-15, the respondent has issued NOC for 110 seats for the said course to petitioner and the seat intake for by the petitioner Institute has been 110. This seat intake has been reduced to 85 seats by Respondent for the academic session 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22 and the same has been done for the current academic session 2022-23.
Aggrieved by these changes the petitioners had approached the Court by way of Writ petitions for academic session 2018-2019, for academic session 2019-2020, for academic session 2020-2021 and for academic session 2021-2022 and the Court has granted interim relief in the four Writ petitions to the petitioners thereby allowing the petitioners with a seat intake of 110 as opposed to 85 seats as allocated by the Respondent.
Senior Advocate H S Phoolka, appearing for the petitioners, prayed that the Petitioner College be granted an intake of 110 seats for its BA LLB Five Years’ Integrated Course for the academic sessions 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23.
He contended that the JAC physically visited and verified the available space/area/infrastructure available at the institute.
He submitted that the JAC in its visit for the academic session 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and after being fully satisfied with the available space/area/infrastructure and other facilities available with the petitioner institute, it had recommended 110 seats for the said course with the Petitioner College.
Counsel appearing for the Respondent contended that the affiliation is granted to the institute as per ordinance 1 read with statute 24 of the University, along with policy guidelines of the Respondent DHE.
He submitted that a perusal of the University rules in this regard i.e., Ordinance 1 read with Statute 24 show that the procedure laid for affiliation apply mutatis mutandis for new academic year. Therefore, an institute must apply afresh for renewal of affiliation inter alia for increase in the intake, every year/ new academic year.
He argued that the institute doesn’t have adequate space to accommodate 110 students, as per the approved/sanctioned building plan of the premises as sanctioned by the DDA, the institute can have the highest intake of 85 seats.
The single judge bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh noted that the Government of NCT of Delhi, set out the Policy Guidelines for issuance/grant of NOC to new/existing institutions, inter alia, for increase in the intake of students for programmes run by an institute.
The court said that the condition of legal education including the status of infrastructure is nothing but worrying. There are law colleges where you may not have sufficient faculty, no classrooms, no library, etc.
The court added that it is unfortunate that the Court is being constrained to remark that there are law colleges where you have to just go and pay the fees, the rest is taken care off.
“It is surprising to state that how can a legal profession or how can we as stakeholders of legal education tolerate this kind of situation. It is a great responsibility cast upon the Bar Council of India to shut down such institutions” the court said.
The bench directed that the BCI should constitute special expert teams to conduct surprise visits of the colleges that lack minimum infrastructure and adequate facilities.
The court said that the petitioner institute has failed to show that the institute has necessary clearance from the statutory bodies for the usage as being sought for, which in the present case is the DDA and MCD as per clause 8(5)(d) of annexure VI of UBBL-2016.
The court added that until and unless the sanction is granted for the desired purpose, the petitioner is not allowed to use the same for any other purpose except car parking.
It was further observed by the court that the classes or any educational activity cannot be allowed to function in the basement in the instant case. It can only be used for parking purposes.
The bench held that the petitioner institute lacks the requisite FAR for an additional intake of 25 students in the said Course. DHE has rightly granted the NOC for admission of 85 students in the course of BA LLB to the petitioner institute based on the recommendation of the JAC reports.
The court clarified that notwithstanding the question of legality of the additional seats as being claimed by the Petitioner Institute for previous academic sessions, it, in the best interest of the students already admitted and other stakeholders, does not intend to interfere with their admission.
Case title: New Millennium Education Society & Anr v/s Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University & Anr
Citation: W.P.(C) 7329/2018 & CM APPL. 33620/2022