Rakesh Tiwari, J.
1. Shri Vishwanath Gurukul Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya is a registered society. !t is running Adarsha Shri Vishwanth Gurukul Sanskrit Mahavldyalaya thereinafter called the Institution). It appears that disputes about the Management are going on and cases are pending before the Civil Judge as well as in writ petitions before this Court. Once the matter also went up to the Supreme Court but petitioner No. 1 continued to function as Mahant and has been performing the duty of the President of the society managing the institution.
2. On 17.1.2002, the Management of the society was reconstituted when petitioner No. 2 was appointed as its Manager. The Vice Chancellor recognised petitioner No. 1 as President of the Committee of Management on 1.2.2002.
3. It appears that some complaints were made against respondent No. 3. the Principal of the Institution. The Committee of Management issued a show cause notice to respondent No. 3. who submitted his reply. The Committee of Management suspended respondent No. 3 and forwarded the necessary papers, such as charge- sheet, etc. to the Vice Chancellor for approval. Respondent No. 3 also made a representation to Vice Chancellor for revoking his suspension. The Vice Chancellor, it is alleged, without giving any notice to either party passed the impugned order dated 5.10.2001 by which not only suspension of respondent No. 3 was revoked but also an order for single operation was passed. The Management has challenged the validity of the said order in this writ petition.
4. An objection has been raised by the learned counsel for respondents that the writ petition is not maintainable on the ground of availability of alternative remedy of approaching the Vice Chancellor under Section 68 of the U. P. State ' Universities Act. Reliance has been placed on the decision in Writ Petition Wo. 6709 of 2002, Hart Krishna Geeta Rastriya Degree College D. Vice Chancellor, dated 11.2.2002 by a Division Bench of this Court and also upon the decision in U. P. Jal Nigam v. Nareshwar Sahai 1995 SCO (L & S) 209. As against these, the learned counsel for the petitioner has relied upon the decision in Dr. Smt. Kuntesh Gupta v. Management of Hindu Kanya Vidyalaya. 1988 (1) AWC 347 (SC) : 1987 SC 2186. and a Division Bench decision of this Court in Special Appeal Wo. 600 of 1999. State of U. P. v. Ali Abbas Abdi
5. In the decision in W.P. No. 6709 of 2002. Hart Krishna Geeta Rastriya Degree College, the Division Bench after referring to the cases of Babu Ram v. Zila Parishad, AIR 1969 SC 556 and Dr. Km. Santosh Gupta. 1987 UPLBEC 734, held :
"In our opinion, these decisions do not lay down any absolute proposition that a writ petition can never be dismissed on the ground of alternative remedy, if there is violation of natural Justice or order is without jurisdiction. It all depends on the facts of each case. Writ is a discretionary remedy and the existence of an alternative remedy is certainly an important consideration to be taken into account to decide whether to exercise that discretion or not................Article 226 is not meant to short circuit or circumvent the statutory procedures. It is only when statutory remedies are entirely ill-suited to demand of extraordinary situation as for instance the very vires of a statute is in question or where private or public wrongs are so inexorably mixed up and the prevention of public injury and judicator of public Justice require that recourse be had to Article 226 of the Constitution, but then the Court must have good and sufficient reason to bypass alternative remedy provided by statute."
6. The case of U. P. Jal Nigam, 1995(1) SCC 21. relates to promotion of a Chief Engineer. The respondent directly approached the High Court ignoring the statutory remedy of approaching the Services Tribunal. Any circumstance for not availing alternative remedy was not pleaded in that case. In the present case, violation of principles of natural justice and passing an order without authority of law and private wrongs by alleging baseless charges have been pleaded. These questions have, therefore, to be seen to avoid injustice being done.
7. In the case of Santosh Gupta (supra] the Vice Chancellor had reviewed his order though there was no power to review in the U. P. State Universities Act. The Hon'ble Supreme Court held :
"It is well established that an alternative remedy is not an absolute bar to the maintainability of a writ petition. When the authority has acted without jurisdiction, the High Court should not refuse to exercise its Jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution on the ground of existence of alternative remedy."
8. Similarly in State of U. P. v. All Abbas Abdt. 2001 (2) AWC 1331 ; 2001 (2) ESC 619. the Division Bench after quoting the observation made by Supreme Court in the case of Whirlpool Corporation v. Registrar Trade Marks. 1998 (8) SCC. said ;
"The power to issue prerogative writs under Article 226 of the Constitution is plenary in nature and is not limited by any other provision of the Constitution. The High Court having regard to the facts of the case has discretion to entertain or not to entertain a writ petition. But the High Court has imposed upon itself certain restrictions one of which is that if an effective and efficacious remedy is available, the High Court would not normally exercise Its jurisdiction. But the alternative remedy has been consistently held by the Supreme Court not to operate as a bar in at least three contingencies, namely, where the writ petition has been filed for the enforcement of any of the Fundamental Rights or where there has been a violation of the principles of natural Justice or where the order or proceedings are wholly without jurisdiction or the vires of an Act is challenged.
Therefore, the Jurisdiction of the High Court in entertaining a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution inspite of the alternative statutory remedies is not affected, specially in a case where the authority against whom the writ petition is filed, is shown to have had not Jurisdiction or had purported to usurp jurisdiction without any legal foundation."
9. In view of the above, we are of opinion that this case falls in the exceptions laid down in the case of Whirlpool Corporation (supra). Hence, we do not agree with the objection raised by the respondents regarding non-maintainability of the writ petition on the ground of alternative remedy in the facts and circumstances of the case.
10. On merits. the first contention of the petitioners is that the Impugned order has been passed against the principles of natural justice by the Vice Chancellor as personal hearing was not given before passing the order. The Apex Court in State Bank of Patiala v. M.K. Singhal, 1994 Supp. (2) SCC 463, considered the question of personal hearing by the appellate authority on appeal against the order of punishment awarded by the disciplinary authority. It held :
"No rule has been brought to our notice which requires the appellate authority to grant personal hearing. The rule of natural justice does not necessarily in all cases confer a right of audience at the appellate stage."
11. On the question of violation of principles of natural justice, the Apex Court in State Bank of Patiala v. S. K. Sharma, 1996 (3) SCC 364, held thus :
"It would not be correct to say that for any and every violation of a facet of natural justice or of a rule incorporating such facet, the order passed is altogether void and ought to be set aside without further enquiry. The approach and test adopted in B. Karunakar should govern all cases where the complaint is not that there was no hearing (no notice, no opportunity and no hearing) but one of not affording a proper hearing (i.e., adequate or a full hearing) or of violation of a procedural rule or requirement governing the enquiry; the complaint should be examined on the touchstone of prejudice. The test is, all things taken together. whether the delinquent officer/ employee had or did not have a fair hearing."
It further held :
"Justice means Justice between both the parties. The interests of justice equally demand that the guilty should be punished and that technicalities and irregularities, which do not occasion failure of Justice are not allowed to defeat the ends of Justice. Principles of natural justice are but the means to achieve the ends of justice. They cannot be perverted to achieve the very opposite end. That would be a counter productive exercise. These principles cannot be put in a strait Jacket. Their applicability depends upon the context and the facts and circumstances of each case.
While applying the rule of audi alteram partem (the primary principles of natural justice) the Court/Tribunal/Authority must always bear in mind the ultimate and overriding objective underlying the said rule, viz., to ensure a fair hearing and to ensure that there is no failure of Justice. It is this objective which should guide them in applying the rule to varying situations that arise before them. There may be situations where the interests of State or public interest may call for a curtailing of the rule of audi alteram partem. In such situations, the Court may have to balance public/State interest with the requirement of natural justice and arrive at an appropriate decision."
12. Again in a recent decision, Aligarh Muslim University v. Mansoor Ali Khan, 2001 (91) FLR 28 in paras 16. 17, 18 and 19, the Apex Court held :
"16. As pointed out recently in M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, there can be certain situations in which an order passed in violation of natural justice need not be set aside under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. For example, where no prejudice is caused to the person concerned, interference under Article 226 is not necessary. Similarly, if the quashing of the order which is in breach of natural Justice is likely to result in revival of another order which is itself illegal as in Gadde Venkateshwara Rao v. Government of Andhra Pradesh. AIR 1966 SC 828"
17. In M. C. Mehta, It was pointed out that at one time. It was held in Ridge v. Baldwin, that breach of principles of natural justice was in Itself treated as prejudice and that no other "de facto" prejudice needed to be proved. But since then, the rigour of the rule has been relaxed not only in English but also in our country. In S.L. Kapoor v. Jagmohan, 1980 (4) SCC 379, Chinnappa Reddy, J. followed Ridge v. Baldwin, and set aside the order of supersession of the New Delhi Metropolitan Committee rejecting the argument that there was no prejudice though notice was not given. The proceedings were quashed on the ground of violation of principles of natural justice. But even in that case, certain exceptions were laid down to which we shall presently refer."
"18. Chinnappa Reddy, J., in S.L. Kapoor's case, laid two exceptions, namely, (page 395) : "If upon admitted or indisputable facts only one conclusion was possible", then in such case, the principle that breach of natural justice was in itself prejudice, would not apply. On other words, if no other conclusion was possible on admitted or indisputable facts, it is not necessary to quash the order, which was passed in violation of natural justice. Of course, this being an exception, great care must be taken in applying this exception."
"19. The principle that in addition to breach of natural justice, prejudice must also be proved has been developed in several cases. In K.L. Tripathi v. State Bank of India, Sabyasachi Mukerji. J. (as he then was), also laid down the principle that not merely violation of natural justice but de facto prejudice (other than non-issue of notice) had also to be proved. It was observed : quoting Wade's Administrative Law (5th edition, pages 472 to 475) as follows (para 31).
It is not possible to lay down rigid rules as to when principles of natural Justice are to apply, nor as to their scope and extent............There must have been some real prejudice to the complainant, there is not such thing as a merely technical infringement of natural justice. The requirements of natural justice must depend on the facts and circumstances of the case."
13. The petitioners relied upon the Division Bench decision of this Court in Committee of Management of Maharajganj Inter College and others v. District Inspector of Schools, Maharajganj and others, 2000 (2) ACJ 1439. This writ petition was filed challenging the order dated 7.8.1998. whereby the District Inspector of Schools declined to accord approval of suspension of the respondent. In this case, It was held by the Division Bench as follows :
"If the suspension is to be disapproved on consideration of any defect pointed out by the concerned teacher by means of a representation, opportunity has to be afforded to the Management before disapproving of the suspension on any such defect in the proceedings."
14. Suffice it to say that prejudice due to defective procedure was not considered in this case (supra). Reliance has also been placed by the learned counsel for the petitioner on the unreported judgment dated 29.4.1997 in Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 31524 of 1990. Hare Krishna Pathak v. Vice Chancellor and others. In this writ petition also, the petitioner was appointed on 8.12.1976 as Principal of Sanyasl Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya, Rajadeput, Sagrl, Azamgarh. which was affiliated to Sampurnanand Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya, Varanasi. He was later on confirmed as Principal but vide order dated 16.11.1997. he was suspended by the Management and thereafter by order dated 15.6.1998, he was removed from service. In this case also, the issue before the Vice Chancellor was about the validity of the orders of suspension and removal. The validity of the constitution of the general body of the Committee of Management was not disputed.
15. Thus, denial of some facet of principles of natural Justice does not always result in failure of Justice. Oral hearing is only a facet of natural justice. It is not required to be afforded in all cases. Only a matter of procedure is involved, in this case and no prejudice has been pleaded or shown by the petitioner that on account of not giving personal hearing, the procedure adopted was not fair. The petitioner had placed his full case before the Vice Chancellor, which was based on submission and perusal of the papers only. Opportunity to state the case personally could not have advanced their case personally and would not have advanced their case further, i.e., beyond documents already submitted. Hence, in our opinion, no prejudice could have been said to have been caused to the petitioners.
16. The impugned order of the Vice Chancellor shows that the Vice Chancellor considered only the material filed before him by the parties, which was fully known to them. The order of suspension along with the details of the allegations and the charge-sheet against respondent No. 3 and other papers were forwarded by the petitioners themselves to the Vice Chancellor and a representation against the suspension was also filed before the Vice Chancellor by respondent No.
3. The Vice Chancellor considered all those papers and passed the order revoking the order of suspension. The revocation is based upon the papers submitted by both the parties and no other material whatsoever has been taken into account by Vice Chancellor in passing the impugned order. Hence, the petitioners cannot allege that principles of natural justice have been violated in the circumstances of this case.
17. The petitioners have failed to plead and prove prejudice. There is no whisper of any prejudice in this writ petition. Hence, in our view, the first point has no substance and we are unable to hold that the order dated 5.10.2001, violates the principles of natural Justice.
18. Sri R. N. Singh. learned counsel for the petitioners has then argued that the Vice Chancellor by the impugned order has also directed single operation of the accounts under the U. P. State Universities Act, 1973. but there is no provision under the said Act conferring power on the Vice Chancellor to pass order of single operation and hence the order dated 5th October, 2001. is without jurisdiction. According to Mr. Singh, the power to order for single operation vests in the Deputy Director of Education under Section 60D of the Act, which provides a complete procedure for single operation. It is well-settled that when the law provides that a certain thing has to be done in a particular manner or confers power on a particular authority, it can be done in that manner and by that authority alone. There is a specific provision for ordering single operation by the Deputy Director and the Vice Chancellor has not been given any such power under the Act. Hence, the Vice Chancellor had no Jurisdiction to order for single operation of accounts under the U. P. State Universities Act. The impugned order to that extent is, therefore, without jurisdiction.
19. The impugned order is in two parts (1) relating to suspension and (2) relating to single operation. It is severable and hence that part of the order by which single operation was passed can be quashed while the other part can be maintained.
20. The writ petition partly succeeds. The order relating to single operation is quashed and the part of the order relating to revocation of suspension is maintained. No order as to costs.