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Krishabh Kapoor Vs Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute Of Technology Surat (2021): Depression Can Be Classified As A Serious Illness In COVID’s Context

minakshi bindhani ,
  06 September 2021       Share Bookmark

Court :
The Gujarat High Court, Ahmedabad
Brief :
In this case, the petitioner was a student in the respondent Institute. The Institute passed an order to remove the petitioner from the Institute based on the recommendation of the Academic Performance Review Committee, on the ground that he did not complete the minimum requirement of earned credit. The petitioner approached the High Court under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution to set aside the order.
Citation :
R/Special Civil Application No. 5584 of 2021

31st August 2021

Justice N.V Anjaria

Petitioner- Krishabha Kapoor
Respondent- Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology Surat


Depression can be classified as a serious illness, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this statement, the High Court set aside the order and decision of a Government college to cancel the registration and admission of a petitioner/student as he failed to appear for the examination due to mental illness.


  • The petitioner was a student pursuing the course of B.Tech at Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute (respondent) and as per its vide order dated 5th October, the Institute sought to remove the petitioner, based on the recommendation of the Academic Performance Review Committee as he did not complete the minimum requirement of earned credit.
  • During the lockdown, the petitioner’s mental health had deteriorated and he reeled under depression, which started in January 2020 and peaked in May-June, 2020. Therefore, he could not secure the required credit.
  • Thereafter, the college cancelled the registration and admission of the first-year B-Tech (Bachelor of Technology) student, for not earning 25 credits i.e. needed for being promoted to the next semester.
  • Against the backdrop, the petitioner moved to High Court under Article 226, praying that the action of the Institute in issuing the orders was wholly unwarranted and uncalled for, keeping in mind the pandemic that had hit the world, as a result of which a lockdown was imposed in the country.
  • The petitioner submitted that he suffered strokes of depression during the pandemic and he withdrew himself from education and academic activities.
  • Consequently, it was also contended that a psychiatrist was consulted and a certificate showed that the depression episodes gripped the petitioner during the period from January 2020 to May-June, 2020.
  • The petitioner stated that he conceived even suicidal thoughts at regular bouts and for such reasons; he could not appear in the examination, which was conducted online by the Institute.


  • Article 226 of Indian Constitution : Empowers the High Courts to issue to any person or authority, including the government (in appropriate cases), directions, orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto, certiorari or any of them.


  • Whether the mental illness can be taken as a serious illness in the context of the Pandemic?
  • Whether it is justified to cancel the registration and admission of a student as he failed to for the examination due to mental illness?


  • The High Court observed that it was a period of widespread despondency. It is reasonable to believe that the situation brought an adverse effect on the tender mind of the petitioner, who disengaged himself from the studies.
  • The court opined that the ground advanced by the petitioner could be viewed as genuine and there is nothing to doubt to disbelieve the same.
  • Moreover, the court observed that the contention raised by the respondent about the genuineness of the certificate, issued by the doctor, that supported the petitioner’s mental health is insensitive and departs from the facts stated in the letter of the parents.
  • Further, the court noted that the case of the petitioner on medical grounds is governed by the University/college Regulations. So as per the Rule 15.3 read with 15.4, the regulations of the University speak about a student who is unable to appear in the examination on account of compelling reason and serious illness.
  • Importantly, the court observed the reason given by the petitioner has to be appreciated in the special circumstance of the pandemic period.
  • The High Court observed in an interim order, that the petitioner in May 2021 was allowed to appear for the supplementary examination, which he passed to secure the requisite credits to be promoted to the next semester. Therefore, it will be inequitable, arbitrary, and contrary to the tenets of justness, fairness, and equality, to disregard the said factor.


  • The court ordered the decision of the Academic Performance Review Committee, for cancelling the registration and admission of the petitioner, to be set aside.
  • Therefore, the competent authority of the respondent Institute directed to pass a fresh order concerning the case of the petitioner to let him continue his studies in the course of B.Tech, within fifteen days from the date of receipt of the order passed.

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