W. K. C. PERERA v. PROF. DAYA EDIRISINGHE AND OTHERS | 1995 1SLR 148

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Under the Rules “Advanced Drawing” was not a main subject for the final examination for the Degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts. Where the Rules are clear and unambiguous it is impermissible and unnecessary to refer to the Examination Criteria in order to interpret the Rules. For a student who has selected Design, “Advanced Drawing” is a subject but not a “Main subject”. In respect of a student who selected Design the only requirement for an ordinary pass is that she should obtain an average of 40% in the examination. The Art and Sculpture section includes Design and Graphics as well and the appellant had to obtain “C” (40 to 59%) passes. She satisfied both these requirements. Thus the appellant satisfied all requirements of the Examination Criteria for an ordinary pass and thereby became entitled to the award of the Degree.
Article 12 of the Constitution ensures equality and equal treatment even where
a right is not granted by common law, statute or regulation, and this is confirmed
by the provisions of Articles 3 and 4(d). Thus whether the Rules and Examination
Criteria have statutory force or not, the Rules and Examination criteria read with
Article 12 confer a right on a duly qualified candidate to the award of the Degree
and a duty on the University to award such degree without discrimination and
even where the University has reserved some discretion, the exercise of that
discretion would also be subject to Article 12, as well as the general principles
governing the exercise of such discretions.
The petitioner, having satisfied the Rules and Examination Criteria, was entitled
to the award of the Degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts on the results of the Final
Examination held in 1990. The University of Kelaniya and the Institute are public
bodies set up by statute and performing public functions, using public funds.
Under the Rules and Examination Criteria read with Article 12 there was a public
duty cast upon its officers, enforceable by mandamus to take necessary steps to
award the appellant that Degree.
The appellant is also entitled to an order in the nature of a writ of Certiorari to
quash the refusal by the University of Kelaniya and/or the Institute of Aesthetic
Studies and/or its officers to award her the Degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts.

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