NLU topper Surbhi Karwa skips convocation to avoid receiving award from CJI; varsity admin terms claims 'incorrect'

  • NLU topper, Surbhi Karwa, made headlines for not attending the convocation as she did not want to take the gold medal from Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi

  • But the NLU termed the incident 'incorrect' and clarified that the topper was to receive the medal from the chief secretary of the Delhi government and not from the CJI.

  • A controversy had erupted after news reports claimed that Karwa missed the convocation to protest against the way the apex court handled the sexual harassment complaint of its former employee against the CJI

National Law University (NLU) topper, Surbhi Karwa made headlines for not attending the convocation as she did not want to take the gold medal from Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi. But the NLU termed the incident "incorrect" and clarified that the topper was to receive the medal from the chief secretary of the Delhi government and not from the CJI.

"As a university, we are highly perturbed over this instance as it had caused an unnecessary inconvenience to the CJI (Ranjan Gogoi)," the vice-chancellor of NLU said in a press statement.

 NLU topper Surbhi Karwa skips convocation to avoid receiving award from CJI; varsity admin terms claims incorrect

File image of CJI Ranjan Gogoi. Reuters

The news item appears to be based on "incorrect facts and information", the university said, adding that "no medal was to be awarded to the LLM topper by the CJI and nor did the university ever make any such communication to any student including Karwa".

A controversy had erupted after news reports claimed that Karwa gave the convocation a miss to protest against the way the apex court handled the sexual harassment complaint of its former employee against the CJI.

“Everything I learnt in the classroom put me in a moral quandary over the last few weeks on whether I should receive the award from CJI Gogoi. The institution he heads failed when sexual harassment allegations were made against him,” Karwa told The Indian Express.

Karwa, however, made it clear that her not attending the convocation does not mean that she is refusing to accept the award.

Karwa specialised in Constitutional law for her master’s degree and her thesis is a feminist critique of the Constituent assembly debates, the publication reported.

According to Bar and Bench reports, the NLU Delhi administration had raised an issue that Karwa did not inform the University about her concerns. In this regard, the press note states:

"Ms Surabhi Karwa never intimated her concerns to the University as portrayed in the media. Moreover, Ms Surabhi Karwa was also not present in the rehearsal of the Convocation held on 16 August from 3.30 PM onwards to share her concerns. The name of Ms Surabhi Karwa was called as a matter of required protocol of the Convocation and it was mentioned that her medal was awarded “in absentia’’ as the University had no information about her plans to attend the Convocation or sending anybody else on her behalf to receive the award."

Gogoi had said that charges of sexual harassment against him were  a threat to judiciary and "a conspiracy" against it, following charges of sexual harassment levelled against the CJI by a former SC staffer, who sent a signed affidavit to all 22 judges of the court, alleging that she was harassed by Gogoi in October.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Aug 21, 2019 11:03:56 IST