Students of the National Law Institute University (NLIU), Bhopal ended their week-long protest after a meeting with Chief Justice Hemant Gupta of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday. They had petitioned the Chief Justice on 13 November.
In what could be termed a victory for the students, Chief Justice Gupta issued a directive to the university administration to expedite the process of appointing a new director and designated additional district and sessions judge Giribala Singh as the law university’s registrar with effect from 16 November.
Director SS Singh, whose removal was the protesting students’ primary demand, was sent on leave, with around 10 months left in his second tenure at NLIU.
Chief Justice Gupta met 14 representatives of the protesting students in the presence of Justice JK Maheshwari, Advocate General Purushendra Kaurav, senior advocate Vivek Krishna Tankha and principal secretary, law and legislative affairs department, AM Saxena. He also ordered a committee comprising of the additional secretary of the higher education department and principal secretary of the law and legislative affairs department to hold a fact-finding enquiry into the allegations made by the students and address their grievances to improve the administration at the institute. The committee will submit its report by 25 December.
An instance of alleged favouritism in the evaluation of 10th-trimester answer sheets sparked this row. Students say marks were liberally bestowed upon a student who would have otherwise failed. When the administration was informed of this alleged bias, the students were asked to pay Rs 1,000 for revaluation of their papers, they said. Apart from the director’s ouster, students’ other demands included an extension of library and hostel timings, changes in attendance guidelines and relaxation on humanitarian and medical grounds and transparency in the examination process.
Firstpost ran a story about this on 14 November.
The students' petition to Chief Justice Gupta had accused the college administration of many irregularities, including multiple instances of corruption, lack of financial transparency and accountability, casteism, the absence of a medical leave policy and denial of leave on genuine grounds and non-conformity with the Student Entitlement Guidelines, 2013.
When questioned on the fifth day of protest, Singh had said: “The students now just have one agenda of protest, to remove the director. And my resignation will come only when I am asked by the Chief Justice to resign. The allegation of passing the student with extra marks is false. I have myself checked the papers.”
Student Bar Association of Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Student Bar Council of National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam; and the Student Welfare Committee at Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow, had acknowledged the protest of NLIU students in a joint statement and had suggested that the only feasible solution to avoid such “mismanagement” is to centralise these institutions under the aegis of the Parliament itself.
Now that the protest has been called off, regular classes commenced from Thursday, while the general council assured the protesting students that their attendance will be taken care of.
The author is a Bhopal-based freelance writer and a member of 101Reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters.
Updated Date: Nov 16, 2017 16:41 PM