“The petitioners have made out a case for interim injunction”

The Madras High Court has stayed all further proceedings pursuant to the show cause notices by the Commissioner of Technical Education (CTE) to 123 students of the Archana Institute of Technology, Krishnagiri, calling for explanation on a charge of mass copying in the first semester examination.

Originally, the institute students filed writ petitions challenging the penalty of cancellation of first semester exams for the petitioners and arranging for conducting supplementary exams before the second semester exam. This order was set aside by the High Court by an order dated April 16 on the ground that the verification of the answer sheets was made by the teaching staff of the member colleges of the Association of Management of Coimbatore Anna University Affiliated Colleges, who gave a complaint of mass copying and there was a likelihood of bias.

The court remitted the matter back to the appropriate authority of the university to consider the matter afresh if it was required to be proceeded further.

However, by the impugned show cause notices, the Commissioner of Technical Education before hearing the petitioners with regard to the alleged mass copying had chosen to propose not only cancellation of the first semester exam held in February this year, but also to debar the students from writing exams for two years for the alleged malpractices committed by them.

A Vacation Judge, Justice N.Paul Vasanthakumar, said that in view of the predetermination of the issue by the CTE and taking note of the proposed punishment, which was higher than the earlier one, he was of the view that the petitioners had made out a case for granting interim injunction till June 7. The petitioners said that in the first semester exam for civil engineering course, almost all students passed with flying colours.

The college issued advertisements in newspapers congratulating the students and staff. Anna University, Coimbatore, passed an order in March this year cancelling the first semester examination on the ground there was mass copying.

The petitioners contended that the decision was taken based on a report of a committee consisting of three senior professors, who were all members of the association.