Amity Law School, Delhi, affiliated to Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi, has once again found itself at the pivot of controversy, this time in students’ challenge to its opaque attendance policy.
One would recall how earlier on August 10 last year, Sushant Rohilla committed suicide for being debarred from appearing in the sixth semester examinations for want of attendance. A close friend of Rohilla then wrote to the Chief Justice of India alleging arbitrariness in the Amity’s attendance policy. The letter was suo moto taken cognizance of as a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution. The case was then transferred to the Delhi High Court and is still pending.
It is alleged in the petition that , last Friday, Amity issued blanket orders to 63 students, of the ninth semester alone, detaining them from appearing in the semester examination allegedly for shortage of attendance. Similar orders were issued to students of other semesters. In defence, it took a stand that the students and parents were notified in advance of the shortage in attendance and, therefore, they cannot now claim that the procedure was not transparent. Although it appears plausible in first sight, the students had a different narration.
Interestingly, in the previous years, not a single final year student was debarred for lack of attendance. Either way, mass detention for lack of attendance, that, too, of students of a batch about to complete its course, is unprecedented, especially since it would result in the loss of a year.
The first of the writ petitions in challenge to the order came to be filed by one Kannan Gopal Vinod of the ninth semester. This was followed by other writ petitions by students of the same as well as other batches. These writ petitions were listed before the bench of Justice Indermeet Kaur of the Delhi High Court. While the first writ was heard by the court pre-lunch and orders were reserved, others were filed, mentioned and listed for orders post-lunch.
In a sigh of relief, the university about 2 pm on Monday issued an Office Order to the effect that ‘all detained students of Amity Law School shall be provisionally allowed to appear in all regular papers of the semester end examinations November / December 2017…’.This was in the wake of numerous complaints received from the students who complained of Amity’s attendance policy as being whimsical and non-transparent. To that extent, the university constituted a committee comprising nine of its top officials to examine such complaints and allegations. As a pre-condition, the University’s Office Order requires the students to furnish an undertaking that their entitlement to appear for the examination is subject to final outcome of the inquiry to be held by the committee.
This received the stamp of approval by the Delhi High Court by way of interim orders permitting the students to appear for the examination scheduled to begin on Tuesday.