Holding that it was a fundamental principle of natural justice that the other side, which is likely to be affected by a proposed action, is afforded a chance to be heard, the Madras High Court has recalled its own 2007 order on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that struck down the donors’ quota at the Anna University.
“Hear the other side before he is affected has become the ordinary rule.... the persons, who are likely to be affected by the proposed action, must be afforded an opportunity of being heard as to why that action should not be taken,” the first bench comprising acting Chief Justice R K Agrawal and Justice T Raja held in a review petition filed by the Alagappa Chettiar Educational Trust and Dr Prema Srinivasan, granddaughter of late Chinnaswami Rajam who founded the Madras Institute of Technology (MIT).
The matter pertains to a PIL filed in 2006 by one Goodluck Rajendran, which sought a CBI probe into alleged irregularities committed by former Vice Chancellor D Viswanathan.
In the 2006 writ petition, a bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice P Jyothimani struck down the donors’ quota then prevalent, terming it against the Constitution.
Under the quota, the founders of the Alagappa College of Technology and the MIT were given the right to nominate 10 and five students respectively for admissions every year. This was done apparently in recognition of the large tracts of land donated for the institutions by late Alagappa Chettiar and Chinnaswamy Rajam.
However, the bench had passed the orders without serving notice to the founders. This meant that the case had been adjudicated without impleading the founders, who were largely affected by that order.
Though the founders filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) before the apex court challenging the order, it was dismissed for default. They then approached the High Court with the current review petition.