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Case Analysis: V Ramesh v Convenor, EAMCET (AIR 1997 AP 79)

The case V Ramesh v Convenor (AIR 1997 AP 79) is a case which deals with the liability of the Principal. This case is about the admission of petitioner-appellant who is entitled to take admission in the Engineering Colleges of the State on a reserved seat for N.C.C. 'C' candidates, has failed to take the benefit for, according to him due to lapse of the telegram the company which is agent to the respondent.

Facts
  1. The petitioner-appellant applied for the entrance examination for admission to the Engineering course and secured the rank of 16413 in the entrance examination.
     
  2. Being the holder of the N.C.C. 'C' Certificate, he qualified for being given a seat for the engineering course but never received any kind of intimation about it.
     
  3. The petitioner-appellant, learned that he was denied the seat for his not being present at the time of interview for granting admission on 15-10-1995 after filing the instant petition in the Court seeking the Courts intervention for the said purpose.
     
  4. When the petitioner-appellant learnt that candidates obtaining ranks from 224 to 5,500 were being offered seats, he visited the University and was informed that the candidates with N.C.C. 'B' Certificates, who was holding the rank of above 18000 were granted admission to the Engineering College. He, being the holder of the N.C.C. 'C' Certificate, has the priority, and yet he was denied for it.
     
  5. Meanwhile according to respondents, candidates belonging to the N.C.C. category and physically handicapped were sent communication letters, followed by telegrams, requiring them to appear on 15-10-1995. Since the petitioner-appellant failed to appear on the said date, other candidates who attended the interview were considered and were granted admission. Thus, all the seats reserved for the N.C.C. category were filled.
     
  6. Telegram was given to the petitioner on 12-10-1995. It had been known the telegraph department has communicated that the same couldn't be served upon the petitioner-appellant for the explanation of service error.

Issue
The main issue of this case is that whether the respondent is liable for the loss of the petitioner-appellant despite the fact that it was telegram company who was at fault.

Judgement
It was held by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court that in the instant case, the lapse of the telegraph department leading to non-communication of the date for the interview to the petitioner-appellant needs to be construed because the lapse of an agent of the respondent and therefore the Principal i.e., respondent must take the liability of the lapse of the agent.

Going by the aforesaid, it had been held that non-presence of the petitioner-appellant for the interview on 15-10-1995 has been caused on account of the lapse of the respondent and therefore the respondent has the liability to compensate the loss caused to the petitioner-appellant. The Hon’ble Court also held that it is respondent’s duty to provide the petitioner-appellant with a seat in an engineering college on the basis of merit. It was further held that the as people who were less deserving than the petitioner-appellant got free seats so allotment of payment seat will not be fair.

The Court issued a mandamus to the respondent to compensate for the loss caused to the petitioner-appellant by providing to him a free seat in any of the Engineering colleges within the State.

Judgement Analysis
As the facts of the case were not disputed of this case so there were no two ways about it. The issue was whether the respondent was liable for the lapse of the telegram company. The Hon’ble Judge states why his attention was not drawn to the issue of whether no intimation about the selection by the respondent caused any sort of loss to the petitioner-appellant.

He mentions a learned judgment of a Full Bench of the Madras Court in the case of Vinoth Kumar R. v. Secretary, Selection Committee, Sabarmathi Hostel.[1]

In the mentioned case it was held that:
"If conditions or stipulations are contained in the prospectus with an option being given to applicants to send the applications either in person or by registered post and if an applicant prefers to send the application by registered post, by handing over the same at a post office some days earlier to the last date of receipt of applications and once such an option is exercised, it goes without saying that as per the principle evolved in the Common Denominator decisions of the Apex Court of this country, as reflected in the decision of the Division Bench of Orissa High Court, such post office must have to be construed to have been constituted as the agent of the sender/ applicant and not the agent of the addressee/ Directorate. Only if the post office is being constituted as the agent of the addressee, the receipt of application by such agent, long prior to the last date of receipt of application by the Principal/addressee/Directorate. In such a situation, the decision arrived at by the latter Division Bench of this Court cannot at all be stated to be in tune with the principle, as evolved by the Supreme Court, as indicated earlier."

In the mentioned judgement it was stated and made clear that if someone sends a post via registered post-office then the post office will be constituted as the agent of the sender of post and the sender i.e. the principal can be held liable for the lapse. When the instant case is seen applying to what legal consequence has been held in above mentioned of an agent getting concerned in carrying a message from one person to a different and within the instant case, the telegraph department/postal department was chosen as its agent by the respondent to hold the intimation for delivery to the petitioner-appellant for his presence at the interview on 15-10-1995.

The fault of telegraph department resulted in non-intimation about the interview to the petitioner-appellant was interpreted as lapse by the agent of the respondent and thus the principal i.e. the respondent should take responsibility of the lapse.  Therefore, the hon’ble judge held that non availability of the petitioner-appellant on the interview on 15-10-1995 was caused by the respondent which resulted in petitioner-appellant losing the seat.

Conclusion
The afore analyzed judgement shows the duty of the principal which is to indemnify the agent against all the lawful acts and liability of principal if any sort of failing or mistake is done by the agent. The principal will be responsible for compensating any such mistakes on behalf of the agent.

End-Notes:
  1. K.M.C.1995 (1) Mad LW 351.

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