Rehana Ali Vs. Government of Bangladesh and others, 2 LNJ (2013) 167

Case No: Writ Petition No. 7407 of 2011

Judge: Tariq ul Hakim,

Court: High Court Division,,

Advocate: Mr. Manzill Murshid,Ms. Kazi Zinat Hoque,Mr. Shams-ud Doha Talukder,Mr. Masud Ahmed Sayeed,Mr. Syed Ejaz Kabir,Mr. A.B.M. Bayezid,,

Citation: 2 LNJ (2013) 167

Case Year: 2013

Appellant: Rehana Ali

Respondent: Government of Bangladesh and others

Subject: Writ Jurisdiction, Locus Standi,

Delivery Date: 2012-05-27

HIGH COURT DIVISION
(SPECIAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION)
 
Tariq ul Hakim, J.
And
Md. Faruque, J.
 
Judgment
24.05.2012 and 27.05.2012
 
 
 
Rehana Ali
... Petitioner.
-Versus-
Bangladesh represented by the Secretary, Ministry of Education and others.
. . .Respondents

Constitution of Bangladesh, 1972
Article 102
Maintainability of writ petition—As the petitioner has challenged the inaction of the respondent Nos. 1 to 4 relating to the matter of respondent No. 5’s Chancery academy of English law and prayed for a direction that they should monitor the provisions of tuition and pendency of a criminal case will not be a bar in maintaining the writ petition.
Let us address the point of maintainability first. It is alleged by the petitioner that she paid taka ten lac to the Respondent No.5 but that is denied by the respondent. Similarly, the petitioner’s claim that the certificate is false is also denied by the answering Respondent no. 5. However it is admitted by the parties that the petitioner did undertake a course of study at the Respondent No.5’s Chancery Academy of English Law for a Diploma/ Degree of the Williamsburg University of U.K. The instant Rule is about the Respondent Nos. 1-4’s action or inaction relating to this matter and a prayer for a direction that they should monitor the provision of tuition by such institutions. From that point of view we find no reason why the Rule cannot be maintainable. Secondly even if a Criminal Case is filed by the petitioner for cheating etc., we see no bar in maintaining this Writ Petition for judicial review for the administration’s alleged inaction.  ...(22)

Constitution of Bangladesh, 1972
Article 102
In fact in the list of 157 degree awarding bodies of the U.K. the name of Williamsburg University does not appear. A degree awarding body in the U.K. derives its authority either from Royal Chater or Act of Parliament or by an order of the Privy Council. There is nothing before us to show how Williamsburg University acquired its degree awarding status. Thus we are not satisfied about Williamsburg University being a British University. We do not say that Williamsburg University does not exist at all. It may well exist in some other country and have affiliated offices in the U.K. and provide a web based (internet based) distance learning programme. It is however clear that its LL.B. Degree is not recognized by the Bar Standards Board of U.K. as well as the Bangladesh Bar Council. In that view of the matter, apart from self satisfaction and self education no useful purpose will be served in pursuing the LL.B. course of Williamsburg University. It is however for the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh to formally approve or disapprove the said LL.B. course of Williamsburg University;  thus on the face of evidence before us the Respondent No.5 Chancery Academy of English Law should not be allowed to provide coaching/tuition for any course of Williamsburg University until specific approval is obtained from the University Grants Commission. We do not wish to comment on the allegation of fraud and fake certificate since Criminal case is pending against the Respondent No.5 and no doubt evidence will be adduced  in Court on the basis of  which  the concerned  Court will take its decision.

It is not the work of this Court sitting in writ jurisdiction to shut down educational institutions. The State machinery is adequately empowered to do the same and it should exercise such power after examining all the facts in each case.

The Respondent No.6 has made a spot survey of a number of institutions including the Respondent No.5’s Chancery Academy of English Law and has made observations that some of them are completely fake etc. It is unfortunate that the said respondents after having made their survey and coming to a conclusion that the institutions are fake have not taken any steps against them. Accordingly they are urged to take appropriate steps pursuant to their findings in accordance with law  within 60(sixty) days from the date of receipt of this judgment.  ...(26 to 29)
 
Private University Act (XXXV of 2010)
Sections 3 and 9
It appears that the Respondent Nos. 1-4 have allowed the Respondent No.5 to continue its activities of providing coaching/ tuition for Williamsburg University  unabated without even investigating into the matter as to whether such University exists; there are allegations of innocent students being defrauded in the name of providing tuition for foreign University degree; the Respondent No. 5 has also not taken any permission from the Government  as per sections 3 and 39 of the Private Universities Act; the committee constituted by the Respondent No.6  after making on the spot survey have not found the Respondent No.5’s institution satisfactory; the Respondent Nos. 1-4 have thus fallen short of their responsibilities  in taking appropriate action against the said Respondents and from that point of view  this Rule has merit.

The Respondent Nos. 1-4 are therefore  directed to frame their rules under section 39 of the Private University Act within 02(two) months (of receipt of copy of this judgment) so that private institutions providing coaching/ tuition  for foreign degrees may be brought within the control and discipline of the Government. …(34 and 35)
 
Mr. Manzil Murshid  Advocate
. . .For the Petitioner .

Ms. Kazi Zinat Huq D.A.G. with
Mr. Shams-ud Doha Talukder A.A.G.
. . . For the Respondent No.1 .

Mr.  Masud Ahmed Sayeed with
Mr. Syed Ejaz Kabir Advocates
…For the Respondent No.5

Mr. A.B.M. Bayezid Advocate
….For the added Respondent No.6
 
Writ Petition No. 7407 of 2011
 
JUDGMENT
Tariq ul Hakim, J:
 
Rule Nisi has been issued calling upon the respondents to show cause as to why failure to take  necessary  legal action against the institution, which is allegedly resorting to fraud against the students  in the pretext of conferring  U.K. law decrees, without having any affiliation/ approval of any authenticated University  of the United Kingdom  should not be declared illegal and without lawful authority and  why a direction should not be given upon the respondents to prepare a guide line for controlling the fraud purported by unauthorized educational institutions in the pretext of providing foreign law degrees  and and/or pass such other or further order or orders as this Court may seem fit and proper.
 
This is a public interest litigation.
 
It is stated that the petitioner, a conscientious and law abiding citizen of Bangladesh was a student of Chancery Academy of English Law, an institution  owned by  the Respondent No.5  The petitioner  and her husband got admitted to the said Academy by paying  approximately Taka ten lac through Bank cheques as fees; because of the friendly relationship of the petitioner with the Respondent No. 5 the Academy did not provide them any receipts for the money. After completion of  their first year of study Respondent No.5 awarded them Certificates of Diploma in Law. Being suspicious the petitioner  enquired about the Academy but found no definite and satisfactory reply from U.K. authorities. Examinations of U.K. Universities are normally  conducted by the British Council  and Certificates  of the British University Degrees are delivered through the British Council. In the case of Chancery Academy of English Law all the examination, questions  are allegedly sent by e-mail from the University of Williamsburg to Chancery Academy of English Law and the examination papers  after being  scanned are sent back to the University by e-mail for gradation. It is further stated that when the U.K. authorities were asked to verify the Petitioner’s Certificates they failed to trace  their authenticity; thereafter  the petitioner  sent an e-mail to the Bar Standards Board  London enquiring about the status of Williamsburg University and whether  she could get  herself admitted  to study and qualify for the English Bar. The Bar Standards Board asked the petitioner to  contact U.K. NARIC  but NARIC informed her that the LL.B. degree of William-sburg University  was not approved by the Bar Standards Board.  She was further  advised  to contact the University of Manchester  regarding the authenticity of the Certificates provided  by the Respondent No.5 and when contacted the Senior International Officer of the University of Manchester  confirmed that the said University had no agreement with anybody regarding  conducting  LL.B. course and giving Certificates in Bangladesh. She also confirmed that the  University of Manchester  had nothing to do  with the Chancery Academy of English Law  or  the Respondent No.5. The Petitioner   thereafter  made further inquiries  and  came to know about the Universities  and Colleges  in the U.K  which was approved by the Council  of Education  U.K. but that list  did not  include the name of Williamsburg University, thus confirming  that  such University  did not exist.

It is further stated that a report in the daily “Manob Zamin’ on 31st July, 2011 contained an article  about Chancery Academy of English Law with the heading “Chancery Academy of English Law: False University  of British Law Degree”;  the  report stated  how  the Respondent No.5 was defrauding  students in the name of  education.  It has been  further stated that  the Respondent No.5 invited Senior Judges of the Supreme Court, the Education  Minister, Vice Chairman of the Bar Council  and others to a “Convocation” Ceremoney where  Certificates of Williamsburg University  were handed over  recently.

It is further stated that the Petitioner  has also filed a criminal case at Dhanmondi  Police Station against the Respondent No.5 for cheating and fraud and the same is under investiga-tion. It is further stated that  many students are getting cheated by the Respondent No.5 and as such  the Respondent nos. 1-4 being in the service of the republic  have a duty to take steps  so that the public  do not get defrauded . It is  further stated that  the Respondent No.5 is cheating many innocent people like the petitioner by extracting huge amounts of money from them in exchange of giving false Certificates of U.K. Law Degree and/or by promising to award Law Degree of U.K. University  including  the University  of  Williamsburg  U.K. due to the inaction of the Respondent Nos. 1-4. Being cheated herself the Petitioner claims to represent similar members of the public and has come to this Court and obtained the present Rule.

The Respondent No.5 has filed Affidavit -in-Opposition, Supplementary Affidavit-in-Opposition and a number of pleadings denying the material allegations in the Writ Petition and is contesting this Rule alleging inter alia that the Respondent No.5’s institution  Chancery Academy of English Law provided her tuition whereby she was conferred  Diploma in Law certificate of Williamsburg University and whereby her contention that she lost  her valuable educational years is false and baseless. It is further stated that Chancery Academy of English Law was started in 2003  for imparting education on English Law in Bangladesh through distance learning programes and since its inception it has been offering  distance learning  LL.B. degrees of the University of London, University of Northhumbria  and  University  of Williamsburg  with name and  fame . It has successfully produced hundreds of law graduates who are practicing law either  in local or in foreign  jurisdiction  and as such  the question of thousands of students being defrauded  by the Respondent No.5 through distance learning programe  is not true. It has been  further stated that  this Respondent  is not offering  LL.B. degree  of the University of Manchester, U.K. but offering an assignment based distance learning  LL.B. degree  of the University  of  Williamsburg  a well reputed U.K. University  situated at the heart of the City  of  Manchester, U.K. (III Piccadidly, Manchester MI ZHX) whose  distance learning LL.B. programes is recognized  all over the world.  The respondent no. 5 denied the petitioner’s paying Taka ten lac as tution fee to the Respondent  No.5 and that not having any receipt for such huge amount of money  her claim is not sustainable.  It has been  further stated that UPP Universities  are offering assignment based distance learning  programmes in all over the world but the petitioner  being unfamiliar  with the things that the certificates offered by the University  are false and fabricated. It has been further stated that  the University of Williamsburg  is an U.K. University under the University  Development  Programme (UDP)  and there are several other Universities  under the U.D.P.  operating in more than 80 countries  of the world for more than a decade  and that there are  around 8000 students all over the world accomplishing their degrees from the University of Williamsburg.  It is further stated that  the Respondent No.5  or his institution  has committed no crime  with the students  and that the allegation against the Respondent No.5 being a disputed question of fact the instant Rule is not maintainable .

The petitioner  in his Affidavit-in-reply has stated that she is innocent victim of the fraudulent and deceptive  operation  of the Respondent No.5  and that she was awarded the Diploma certificate from a fake University named Williamsburg University. It is further stated that  the so-called  Williamsburg University which is owned by Global has not given any authority  to the Respondent No.5 to provide  distance learning  on online  degrees and  the onus is upon the said respondent  to prove that  such authority  has been  given  to  the said respondent no. 5. It is further stated that  even e-mail site of the University  there is no details regarding staffs and office of University  as well as  even the  curriculum which is pursued by the said University  and that if it is U.K.  University  and why the Respondent No.5 is unable to show permission from the U.K. Government for such institution. It is further stated that  the British Council  was approached  by the petitioner  and they were also unable to comment as to the existence of   Williamsburg University in the U.K. which indicates that such institution  does not exist.  It is further stated that  the Respondent No.5 needs to get  proved of his pleading that his institution or Williamsburg University has got authority from Apollo Global for that  Williamsburg University is operating in every countries or that he has any authorization from Williamsburg University to provide coaching/ tution . It is further stated that  there is no list of  faculty of the same  Williamsburg University on its website although  the Respondent No.5  himself has got  list of faculty  for his  Chancery Academy of English Law. It does not also provide details  as regards staffs of the University  and its office. It has been further stated that  Williamsburg University is not a foreign University  at all but a fake institution and the Respondent No. 5 is running Chancery Academy of English Law to deceive the students and misappropriate their money. It it is further stated that  the list of students  provided  by the Respondent No. 5 who have studied  at his  Chancery Academy of English Law  does not prove the existence of Williamsburg University and that the said students  may be studying  for degrees of  Northumbria  and London Universities.

In another Supplementary Affidavit  the petitioner  has annexed Annexure  M  which shows that there are 157 institutions in the U.K.  having degree awarding powers recognized  by the U.K. Government  but among these 157 institutions, the name of  Williamsburg University  does not appear which indicates that  it is not a British University  and does not have any degree awarding authority  and is not recognized  by the  U. K. Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Respondent No.1  in its Affidavit-in-Opposition  has stated that  after receiving a copy of the Rule and interim order of this Court  it constituted  a committee to monitor  the educational  institutions  of the Dhaka City   providing tuition  for overseas law degrees  and it has submitted a Report  along with  recommendations  to the said Ministry.

In a Suppelmentary Affidavit  the Report is annexed as Annexure  III which shows that the committee was formed  by Professor Dr.  Md. Muhibur Rahman  as Member of Convener , Professor Abdul Mannan Akhand as Member, Professor Md. Habibur Rahman as Member,  Professor Dr. Shahid Akhter Hossain as Member, Professor Dr. Yousuf Ali Mollah as Member, Professor Dr. Farid  Uddin Ahmed as Member, Joint Secretary ( University ) as Member and Md. Khaled  as Member Secretary.

In the Report  it is stated that  the committee visited  12 institutions in Dhaka  City  and found that they were  providing tution  in the name of coaching for higher  degrees of  foreign Universities. It is further stated that  none of these institutions entered into  any agreement  with the Government  and were providing coaching /tution  at their own initiative. Regarding some of these  institutions  the committee made the following comments  “Looks like a fake organization”. “It’s not bad  as a coaching centre/tuition provider.” “A vibrant and promising Organization  with enough  infrastructure and effective man power.”  “It seems the college is under good management.”  In the case of  the Respondent No.5’s institution   it  has been described as “ Completely a fake  Organization. There is no way that the place can be characterized as a school or even a coaching centre.” The said report was subsequently  published in the  daily Newspaper  as a public notice in compliance with this Court’s order. The Respondent No.6 however does not appear to have  taken any further steps .  The relevant  portion of the report is reproduced :

          মতামত ও সুপারিশঃ

“১। বেসরকারী বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় আইন ২০১০ এ বিদেশী বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের শিক্ষা কার্যক্রম পরিচালনার বিষয়ে বিধি প্রণয়নের বাধ্যবাধ্যকতা রয়েছে। কয়েকটি সরকারের অনুমোদন নিয়ে বিধিসম্মতভাবে বিদেশী বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের উচ্চশিক্ষা কার্যক্রম (CBHE- Cross Border Higher Education) পরিচালনা করতে আগ্রহী, এবং তাদের যথেষ্ট উন্নতমানের অবকাঠামো রয়েছে। সুতরাং ইআএউ বিধিমালা প্রণয়ন করে তাদেরকে এই সুযোগ দেওয়া যেতে পারে। বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় মঞ্জুরী কমিশন হতে এ বিষয়ে খসড়া প্রণয়ন করে শিক্ষা মন্ত্রণালয়ে প্রেরণ করা হয়েছে। যত দ্রুত সম্ভব উক্ত বিধি প্রণয়ন করে প্রতিষ্ঠান সমূহকে আইনের আলোকে তদারকী ও তত্তাবধানের আওতায় নিয়ে আসা বাঞ্চনীয়। তবে খসড়া বিধিমালায় Study centre এর জন্য ন্যূনতম ৩০০০ (তিন হাজার) বর্গফূট Floor space এর প্রস্তাব করা  হয়েছে। কমিটির কাছে ৩০০০ (তিন হাজার) বর্গফুট Floor space অপ্রতুল প্রতীয়মান হয়, এবং কমিটি ন্যূনতম ঊরষষক্ষ ড়সতদন ১০,০০০ (দশ হাজার) বর্গফুট নির্ধারণ করার সুপারিশ করছে।
২।  বিধিমালা প্রণয়নের পর আইনের আওতায় আসা এসব প্রতিষ্ঠান সমূহের কার্যক্রম তদারকী ও তত্তাবধানের কাজে কমিটি কর্তৃক অনুমোদিত ফরমেটটি ব্যবহার করা যেতে পারে।
৩।  উপরের ২ এ উল্লিখিত পরিস্থিতিতে বিদেশী বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের নামে ঢাকা শহরে অননুমোদিত ডিগ্রি প্রদানকারী প্রতিষ্ঠানের তালিকা প্রস্তুতের বিষয়ে শিক্ষা মন্ত্রণালয় প্রয়োজনীয় ব্যবস্থা গ্রহণ করতে পারে। এই উদ্দেশ্যে কোন প্রতিষ্ঠান/ব্যক্তির সাথে মন্ত্রণালয় চুক্তি সম্পাদন করতে পারে।
৪।আদালতের স্টে অর্ডারের ভিত্তিতে যেসব প্রতিষ্ঠান এদেশে শিক্ষা কার্যত্র্রম পরিচালনা করবে সেসব প্রতিষ্ঠানের শিক্ষার ও প্রদত্ত ডিগ্রির মান যাচাই করে প্রতিবেদন দাখিল করার জন্য শিক্ষা মন্ত্রণালয় হতে কোন বিশেষজ্ঞ ব্যক্তি বা প্রতিষ্ঠানকে দায়িত্ব দেওয়া যেতে পারে।
৫। অধিকাংশ প্রতিষ্ঠানই আবাসিক এলাকায় স্থাপিত হয়েছে। শিক্ষা মন্ত্রণালয় থেকে ঢাকা শহরের ভি আই পি সড়ক, ব্যস্ত সড়ক ও আবাসিক এলাকায় বেসরকারী বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় স্থাপন করা যাবেনা- এমর্মে প্রজ্ঞাপন জারী করা হয়েছে। এ জাতীয় প্রতিষ্ঠানের ক্ষেত্রেও একই নিষেধাজ্ঞা কার্যকর করা বাঞ্চনীয়।
৬। কমিটির কাছে এই বিষয়টি লক্ষণীয় মনে হয়েছে যে, Study centre (Chancery Academy of English Law Road No.4, #House No. 14, Dhanmondi R/A, Dhaka- 1209) টি সম্পর্কে মহামান্য আদালতের রীট পিটিশন দায়ের করা হয়েছে, পরিদর্শন প্রতিবেদন অনুযায়ী তার অস্তিত্ব পাওয়া যায় নাই। কমিটি মনে করে যে এই ধরনের আরো অনেক ভূয়া প্রতিষ্ঠান অবৈধ শিক্ষা কার্যত্র্রম চালিয়ে যাচ্ছে।
৭। ইউজিসি ও সরকারের প্রজ্ঞাপন (সংলগ্নী-৪) এবং আইনের বিধান উপেক্ষা করে এর বিজ্ঞাপন প্রদান অব্যাহত রয়েছে বলে প্রমাণ পাওয়া গিয়েছে। এই বিষয়ে সরকার এর সংশ্লিষ্ট সংস্থার নজরদারীর প্রয়োজন রয়েছে বলে কমিটি মনে করে।”
 
In its Affidavit-in-Opposition  and Supplementary Affidavit  the Respondent No. 6 University  Grants Commission has stated that  the Respondent No.5  without  obtaining permission from the Government and  approval of the Respondent No. 6 in respect of the syllabus and course content is providing coaching to the public in Chancery Academy of English Law.  This is a gross violation of   section 3(1) and 39 of the Private University  Act, 2010 and punishable under section  49 of the  said Act.  The Respondent No. 5 without such permission has conducted  the aforesaid  law course  and provided certificates  to the students. It is further stated that  the petitioner  paid  taka ten lac to the Respondent No.5 as tuition fee but the British High Commission has not confirmed the existence of  Williams-burg University. The certificates awarded have got no validity. It is further stated that  the Ministry of Education  in their  report has confirmed that Chancery Academy of English Law is completely a fake Organization.

Mr. Manzil Murshid, the learned Advocate for the Petitioner  submits that   the respondents except the Respondent No.5   are public servants and they are under a duty to monitor  the activities  of the educational institutions providing tuition  to the members of public in the name of coaching for higher  degrees and take steps  against the fraudulent institutions  who have not complied with the law.  The learned Advocate  further  submits that in the instant case  the said respondents have not taken any steps agaist the Respondent No.5  or his institution  Chancery Academy of English Law  which is  committing fraud and forgery  against the students  and the members of the public. The learned Advocate for the petitioner further submits that   the Respondent No.5  has provided false Certificates to the petitioner   and committed a crime  under the Penal law and the respondent nos. 1-4  have failed to take appropriate steps  against the Respondent No.5 by shutting down their Academy and such  willful inaction and neglect of the respondents should be declared  unlawful. The learned Advocate further submits that every student who gets admitted to a institution  providing  tuition for U.K. degree  has a  legitimate expectation that he will obtain a degree from  a U.K. University  and the Respondent Nos. 1-4 are under a duty to  take appropriate steps  so that such students are not defrauded while they have filed in the instant case.

Ms. Kazi Zinat Huq D.A.G. with Mr. Shams-ud Doha Talukder A.A.G. appearing on behalf of  the Respondent No.1 submits that  the Government  has complied with the interim order  of this Court by constituting a 8 member committee under the head of a Member  University  Grants Comission,  to investigate  into the activities of the institutions providing  U.K. law degrees  in Dhaka City including the institution of the Respondent No.5 and has submitted  a report to the Government a copy of  which is annexed as Annexure  III. The learned Deputy Attorney General  further submits that  under Private University  Act, 2010 permission has to be obtained from the Government  by all the institutions providing University  degrees  and since no such permission  was obtained  by the Respondent No.5  he  may be dealt with in accordance with law.

Mr. A.B.M. Bayezid, the learned Advocate for the added Respondent No.6 University  Grants Comission  submits that the Respondent No.5 along with  several other institutions are  providing coaching/tuition  for foreign U.K. Law degrees  in Dhaka City   without taking permission from the Government  in breach of sections 3  and 39 of the Private University  Act, 2010. The learned Advocate therefore  submits that although some institutions are functioning by obtaining  interim orders  from the High Court Division pursuant to Writ Petitions filed by them, the Respondent No. 5 does not have any such Court Order in its favour and as such  is operating totally unauthorizedly. The learned Advocate further submits that the certificate of Diploma  awarded by the Respondent No. 5  on behalf of  the Williamsburg University  is totally false  and there is no such institution  by that name. The learned Advocate  has also referred to  different misrepresentations  by the Respondent No.5 and submits that this institution  should be shut down.

In reply to all these allegations, Mr.  Masud Ahmed Sayeed with Mr. Syed Ejaz Kabir, the learned Advocate  for the Respondent No.5 submits that  Williamsburg University  operates  in 80 countries  of the world. He  has drawn our attention to Annexure  ‘N’ a brochure  of Appollo Global  wherein in the heading  it says  “ studied in the U.S.A. , studied in the U.K., studied in the world”  and submits that the said University  operates courses in a number of subjects. He has also submitted that communication is made by the University  and the Respondent No.5 through the Internet; questions papers   are sent to the Respondent No.5 through  the internet; after the students complete their assignments they are sent to the University  by the Respondent No.5 through the internet. The learned Advocate  further submits that due to the advancement of technology, this is one of the latest forms of obtaining University  education  and more than 8000 people around the world  are registered  with the said University  and are  being provided education in this way. He further  submits that the certificate awarded to  the petitioner  is genuine. The learned Advocate strongly disputes the maintainability of the instant  Writ Petition  on the ground that  it concerns  disputed questions of fact which cannot be settled in this writ jurisdiction . He further submits  that since  there is a Criminal  case filed by the petitioner  agaist the Respondent No.5 and as such  the petitioner  should not be allowed to pursue his grievance  in two forums simultaneously. The learned Advocate  further submits that  Williamsburg University  is located in the City of Manchester , U.K. and that even though  its name does not appear  in the lists of   recognized bodies in U.K., nevertheless  it exists with degree awarding powers . In this regard he has drawn our attention  to a certificate attested by the British Council  (Annexure  X-14) and claims  that the certificate is genuine and the University  exists otherwise the British Council would not have attested the certificates .  Finally the learned Advocate  submits that the instant matter is an issue between the Writ Petitioner and the Respondent No.5 and  cannot be called  a  public interest litigation  and as such the Rule is liable to be discharged on that ground alone.

Mrs. Rabeya Bhuiyan  of Bhuiyan Academy, Mr. Khaled Hamid Chowdhury  of London College of Legal Studies  (South), Ms. Fatema Anwar of Dhaka Centre for Law and Economics  as well as Mr.  Z. I. Khan Panna of Bangladesh  Bar Council   with the leave of this Court have addressed us to assist this Court on this matter.  All of them excepting  Mr. Z.I. Khan Panna have submitted  that their institutions are providing tuition  for LL.B. degrees of the University  of London. The degree is an external one and the students have to get themselves  admitted to the Universities  on their own initiative on payment of  tuition fees. The  British Council  arranges  for the  LL.B. examination each year strictly  under their supervision. Question papers  are sent from the University  of London to the British Council  and after the examinees complete their answer on the answer script they are sent back to the University  through the British Council  for gradation. The examinations of LL.B. degree  are held all over the world  on the same day on the same subject and the institutions that provide tuition  have got nothing to do with the same. After successfully  completing three/four years of study and only after obtaining requisite  grades   in written examinations the University  awards the degrees  to the students . The Certificates are sent  through the British Council  and  handed over  to the successful students. The institutions providing coaching have no control over the matter and the students are at liberty to join or leave  any  institution at their free will. 

Mr. Khaled Hamid Chowdhury, the learned Advocate  pointed out that they had applied on 9.3.2009 and again on 9.11.2010 to the Government  for permission   to provide tuition  for LL.B. Degree  of London University  but  the Deputy Secretary  of the Ministry of Education  in his reply dated 9.3.2009 said that there was no scope for providing permission in the present set up. He further submits that  4 institutions providing coaching/tuition of LL.B. degree  of London University  filed Writ Petitions against the notices issued by  the Government  and obtained  interim orders from the Court to continue. It has been pointed out by the learned Advocate  that section 3(2) and 3 of the Private University  Act requires permission from the Government  to set up any institution  to provide coaching/tuition  for any Diploma  or any degree. Similarly  section 39 of the said Act states that none is allowed to provide coaching/tuition  for foreign degrees  without prior  permission of the Government. Section 39(2) of the said Act  says that  the Government will  frame rules to give effect to the aforesaid  provisions. Since Rules have not yet been framed, the learned Advocate  submits that their respective institutions are providing coaching/tuition  and the Government  under the said Act  has got no authority  to interfere. All the learned Advocates are however of the opinion that the Government  should frame guidelines or rules  which  the institutions  will be bound to comply.

Mr. Z.I. Panna Khan, the learned Advocate  appearing on behalf of  the  Bangladesh Bar Council  submits that although  certain candidates with law degree from Williamsburg University were allowed to enroll as Advocates by the Bangladesh  Bar Council it was not on the basis of degree from University of Williamsburg but because of having a Bachelors degree in law from  some other University. He categorically submitted that the Bangladesh  Bar Council  does not recognize the Bachelors degree  of Williamsburg University   for  being  eligible to qualify  as an Advocate.

Heard the learned Advocates, perused the Writ Petition, Supplementary Affidavits,  Affidavits-in-Opposition, Supplementary Affidavits-in-Opposition ,  Affidavit-in- reply and the Annexures.

Maintainability of the Rule has been challenged by the learned Advocate  for the Respondent No.5 firstly on the ground that facts are disputed  and secondly since the Petitioner has filed a Criminal Case against the Respondent No. 5  for cheating etc. which is  pending she should not be allowed to pursue two types of litigation on the same subject  at the same time. 

Let us address the point of maintainability first. It is alleged  by the petitioner  that she paid taka ten lac  to the Respondent No.5 but that is denied by the respondent. Similarly, the petitioner’s claim that the certificate is false is also denied by the answering Respondent no. 5. However it is admitted by the parties that the petitioner  did  undertake a course of study at the Respondent No.5’s Chancery Academy of English Law for a  Diploma/ Degree of the Williamsburg University of U.K. The instant Rule  is about the Respondent Nos. 1-4’s action or inaction relating to this matter  and a prayer for a direction that they should monitor  the provision of tuition by such institutions. From that point of view we find no reason why the Rule cannot be maintainable. Secondly even if a Criminal Case  is filed by the petitioner  for cheating etc., we see no bar in maintaining this Writ Petition for judicial review  for the administration’s alleged  inaction.

The University of London was established  more than 200 years ago. Its  external programmes now known as International Programmes  have allowed  students from all over the world to study for degrees  of the said University  without actually traveling to the U.K.. The LL.B. degree of the University of London is an internationally recognized degree of acceptable standard in the study of law. Holders of the said degree are  eligible to sit for the Bar Examinations of the U.K. to qualify  as a Barrister-at-Law  as well as appear in the  Bar examinations of many countries of the world including Bangladesh for enrolment as Advocates. A number of institutions in Bangladesh under private initiative has also been  providing tuition for the LL.B. degree of London University. This has provided an opportunity  to many  in Bangladesh   to go to U.K. and get admitted to the Bar Vocational  course  and qualify as a Barrister-at-Law and save expenses. At a   time  when state  Universities in Bangladesh  are finding it difficult to accommodate  increasing numbers of students qualifying in secondary and higher secondary examinations these private institutions are providing  students’ the opportunity  to study for and get U.K. law degrees.

Private Universities have also come into existence in Bangladesh to fulfill the growing demand for University education. These Universities should not be confused with institutions providing tuition for foreign University degrees.Private Universities have their own faculties and individual degree awarding powers. Their activities are supervised by the University  Grants Commission and all the  academic   courses have to be approved by the said Commission.

Since these institutions (both private University  and institutions providing private tuition for foreign degrees )  have opened their doors  to the public to  provide tuition in exchange of money, the Government  has a duty to monitor their activities to ensure that the citizens do not get defrauded; there will always be  unscrupulous people offering short cuts and  allurements  to students  in the name of providing education  but the Government  has a duty to put in place adequate  safe guards so that unscrupulous persons  do not cheat unsuspecting students.

Respondent No. 5 is alleged to have done just that. The Petitioner  claims to have lost several years of her life studying for a degree from a U.K. University but she later came to know   that the said University has no existence  in the U.K.. The Certificate given to her is alleged to be fake and the degree not recognized; in addition she has been cheated of several lacs of taka. Although the learned Advocate for the Respondents has strongly denied the allegation of fraud and cheating he could not  satisfy this Court about the location of the main campus of Williamsburg Univer-sity. Nothing is before us to indicate that it is a British University. In fact in the list of 157 degree awarding bodies of the U.K. the name of Williamsburg University does not appear. A degree awarding body in the U.K.  derives its authority  either from  Royal  Chater or Act of Parliament or by an order of the Privy Council. There is nothing before us to show how   Williamsburg University acquired its degree awarding status. Thus we are not satisfied about Williamsburg University being a British University. We do not say that Williamsburg University  does not exist  at all. It may well exist in some other  country and have affiliated offices in the U.K.   and  provide a web based  (internet based) distance learning programme.  It is  however  clear that its  LL.B. Degree is not recognized  by the Bar Standards Board of U.K. as well as  the Bangladesh  Bar Council . In that view of the matter,  apart from self satisfaction  and self education  no useful purpose will be served in pursuing the LL.B. course of Williamsburg University. It is however for the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh to formally approve or disapprove the said LL.B. course of  William-sburg University;  thus on the face of evidence before us the Respondent No.5 Chancery Academy of English Law should not be allowed to provide coaching/tuition  for any course of Williamsburg University until specific approval is obtained from the University  Grants Commission. We do not wish to comment on the allegation of fraud and fake certificate since Criminal case is pending against the Respondent No.5 and no doubt evidence will be adduced  in Court on the basis of  which  the concerned  Court will take its decision.

The learned Advocate  for the petitioner  as well as the Respondent No.6, University  Grants Commission has submitted  that the Respondent No.5’s Chanchery Academy of English Law be ordered to be shut down. The learned Deputy Attorney General has also submitted that the Respondent No.5 is providing tution to students for foreign University Degree  in violation of the provision of Private University Act, 2010 for which appropriate  order may be passed against it. In response to such submissions from the Bar it must be said that it is not the work of this Court sitting in writ jurisdiction to shut down educational institutions.  The State machinery is adequately empowered to do the same and it should exercise such power after examining all the facts in each case.

The Respondent No.6 has made a spot survey of a number of institutions including the Respondent No.5’s Chancery Academy of English Law  and has made observations that  some of them are completely fake etc. It is unfortunate that the said respondents after having made their survey and coming to a conclusion that the institutions are fake  have not taken any steps against them. Accordingly  they are urged to take appropriate steps  pursuant to  their findings  in accordance with law  within 60(sixty) days from the date of receipt of this judgment.

The Respondent Nos. 1-4 are further directed to form an appropriate committee to  monitor the activities  of institutions in Bangladesh  providing tuition for degrees of foreign Universities so that innocent students do not get defrauded  by unscrupulous persons.

In our opinion none should be allowed to start educational institutions and open their doors to the public and take money from innocent persons in return for providing tuition for a foreign law degree or course without complying  with certain formalities .Although  as stated earlier  Bhuiyan Academy, Newcastle Academy, London School of Legal Studies etc. have done a creditable and  praiseworthy  work in setting up their  institutions for providing tuition for the LL.B. degrees of Universities   of London,  Northhumbria, Wolverhamption  etc. at the same time we see institutions like Chancery Academy of English Law allegedly  providing courses of  so called Williamsburg University which  serves  no useful purpose. The Government  is under a duty to make appropriate  legislation and ensure that on the one hand students have access to study for courses of foreign University degrees in Bangladesh  on the  one hand and at the same time ensure that such courses are conducted genuinely.  Such legislation should not make it difficult for institutions to be set up under private  initiative. Formalities  should be kept to a minimum. The authority  should be satisfied firstly that the tuition is provided  for a degree of a recognized  University  and that it will be useful for the student in Bangladesh  as well as  abroad to pursue further  studies or to qualify for Government  service or professional  career (e.g. the Bangladesh  Bar Council ) Secondly, the tuition provider should  have sufficient infra-structure  facilities  for  the tuition and coaching i.g. if the degree  requires laboratory and clinical experiments  then the tuition provider should have a proper laboratory; in other cases there should be adequate  lecture  and tutorial rooms and access to a well equipped library  containing sufficient reading materials on the subject.

Thirdly the Syllabus and course content   of the subject  for which  the degree is being  pursued  should be at least of a standard compatible to a similar curse of study in a University  in Bangladesh  covering the same number of years/ months of study.

As already stated these  tuition providers  are providing opportunity  to our youth  to obtain foreign University Degrees  without requiring the students to go outside Bangladesh. This  initiative should be encouraged  by the Government  and other state  authorities including  the Respondent Nos. 1-4  and 6. The requirements should  not be financially  ownerous  and deprive intending students to obtain the benefit of foreign degrees by studying in Bangladesh.

By monitoring  their activities  and framing legislation in the form of Rules and Guidelines it is hoped that the number of such tuition providers  under private initiative  will not only increase but the quality of their tuition and services shall improve for the benefit of the large numbers of our young generation  and make them more qualified and equipped  to contribute to the development  of our country.

It appears that  the Respondent Nos. 1-4 have allowed the Respondent No.5 to continue its  activities  of providing coaching/ tuition  for Williamsburg University  unabated   without even investigating  into the matter as to whether such University  exists; there are allegations of innocent students being defrauded in the name of providing tuition for foreign  University  degree; the Respondent No.5 has also not taken any permission from the Government  as per sections 3 and 39 of the Private Universities  Act ; the committee constituted by the Respondent No.6  after making the on the spot survey have not found the Respondent No.5’s institution satisfactory; the Respondent Nos. 1-4 have thus fallen short of their responsibilities  in taking appropriate action against the said Respondents and from that point of view  this Rule has merit.

The Respondent Nos. 1-4 are therefore  directed to frame their rules under section 39 of the Private University  Act  within 02(two) months (of receipt of copy of this judgment) so that private institutions providing coaching/tuition  for foreign degrees may be brought within the control and discipline of the Government.

Accordingly  the Rule is made absolute in part along with all the aforesaid  observations and directions which will be in the form of continuous Mandamous.

In view of the harassment to the Petitioner we are inclined to award costs and accordingly the Respondent No.5 is directed to pay a sum of Taka 1,50,000/- (one lac fifty thousand)  to the petitioner.

Ed.