We are the biggest Democracy of the world where the Government is Of the people, By the people and For the people. Ours is a welfare state with a Constitution which assures and guarantees its citizens a plethora of Fundamental Rights for a safe, better & dignified living. However, the apathy,  irresponsibility & lack of transparency and accountability of the Government & it’s functionalities have made the life of a common man miserable & pathetic. They are unconcerned about the consequences of their irresponsible conduct which could ruin the life & future prospects of any citizen. Even for the most trifle of things, one has to approach the Courts for redressal- since the authorities are fearless and consider themselves invincible and unanswerable. The Government authorities are nonchalant towards the problems a common man has to face and the repercussions borne by him consequently.

A very intriguing matter came up before the Delhi High Court on 7th July, 2020 in the writ Petition ‘Dhritiman Ray  vs University of Delhi & Ors’. The brief facts are that the petitioner Dhritiman Ray, completed his M.A. in Psychology with a First Division from the Zakir Hussain Delhi College, Delhi in 2017. The Petitioner obtained admission into several prestigious colleges abroad, including Kings College London, Edinburgh University, Glasgow University, etc. to pursue further studies. The Petitioner was also awarded the Commonwealth Scholarship by Kings College London which could not be availed due to the non-filing of the degree certificate in time, as DU did not issue the same. The Petitioner pleads that one final opportunity is available to him in order to avail a scholarship from Glasgow University. Moreso, if the degree certificate is not immediately uploaded by him on the portal, even the said opportunity is likely to be lost. The petitioner’s ire is due to the non-issuance of his degree for the past 3 years by Delhi University which is decimating his academic life & career.

The irresponsible approach & working of the DU does not end here when it justifies its incapabilities for non-issuance of the degree certificate due to lack of ‘proper quality paper’ and an expired contract with the printer. This reply of a coveted university like DU speaks volumes of the indifferent & reckless attitude which ruins the lives of thousands of students, which is certainly criminal & inexcusable.

The Dean, Examination, University of Delhi, appeared in the High Court just to express his regret regarding the fact that the degree certificate was not issued to the Petitioner. However, by no means this is enough. The excuses presented by him are lame, absurd & ridiculous. However, due to the fear of attracting the Court’s fury, he has given an assurance to the Court that the degree certificate would be issued on or before 10th July, 2020.

The Court expressed anguish & concern for the petitioner and observed thus:

“In the case of the Petitioner, the journey after completion of his studies, to obtain the degree certificate has turned out to be arduous and unpleasant. The non-release of his degree certificate for three years has had an irreparable impact on his further educational prospects.

This Court takes serious note of the fact that issuance of degree certificates to students are being delayed in this manner, that too due to completely unjustifiable reasons. The non availability of paper and printing facilities cannot be a justifiable cause especially when the careers and educational prospects of students are at stake. Though no convocation is held, the issuance of degree certificates which ought to be a happy and memorable occasion has been turned into a laborious and burdensome process.

The object and purpose of every University ought to be to attain

‘Educational excellence’. The same has to however be achieved with `Administrative certainty’. This case shows that there seems to be complete administrative lethargy on the part of all the authorities. First, there is no justification for not holding the convocation on an annual basis in the same year when the student passes out. It is unheard of that the convocation is itself held one year later. Secondly, there is no justification for the college not to send the data relating to the Universities immediately upon announcement of results of the final year students. Thirdly and finally, nonavailability of printing facilities and paper is a completely derisory and inexcusable reason.

…….In the opinion of this Court, such an excuse does not justify the non-issuance of the degree certificate for a period of three long years, resulting in irreparable damage to the Petitioner’s further studies. The DU ought to facilitate the process of obtaining degree certificates by students and should, in fact, provide all possible assistance to students who wish to pursue further education and career opportunities. Instead, it is clear from the correspondence on record that the Petitioner’s repeated requests for issuance of his degree certificate have not materialised……

The DU shall also consider creation of a dedicated helpline manned by a responsible official for the purpose of issuance of degree certificates, transcripts etc.,”

It is laudable that the Court has laid down a procedure for accountablity of the erring staff to enable timely issuance of degrees and other other requisite documents. Nevertheless, the loss of the petitioner in terms of sheer wastage of time & the mental trauma & helplessnes he faced, is indeed  irredeemable. The Court while finally disposing with the petition should impose an exemplary fine on the erring officials of DU so as to deter any such happenings in future. Besides condemning the DU officials & administrators, the High Court should punish all officials guilty in the episode with pecuniary fine and adverse  entry in their character role. Strict disciplinary action is incumbent against the irresponsible officials so that the degrees, certificates and marksheet of all students in all Universities of our Country are issued within the stipulated timeline to avoid any inconvenience to the students, who are the Future of our country.

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March 2021