The Allahabad High Court has directed the Babu Banarasi Das University in Lucknow to declare the results of 3 LLM students that were withheld by the University administration over non-payment of fee.
The Bench of Justice Pankaj Bhatia was essentially hearing the plea filed by Ravi Sarthi and 2 others who are pursuing their Masters of Law Degree with specialization in Criminal and Security Law offered by the BBD University.
In their plea, they claimed that the fee structure for the said course was Rs.86,500/- out of which the petitioners have already paid Rs.46,500/-, however, since around 40,000/- was still to be paid, their results were withheld by the University administration. The petitioners couldn't submit the entire fee due to the COVID pandemic.
Before the Court, the petitioners' counsel Panna Lal Gupta argued that the UGC, as well as the Bar Council of India, have issued guidelines to the Universities asking them to reconsider the issue pertaining to the payment of fees in respect of the students who were affected during the Covid - 19 situation.
Here it may be noted that in July 2020, the Bar Council of India had issued an advisory to Centers of Legal Education to be compassionate and considerate to the hardships of students in light of the pandemic.
The Council had issued the following specific directives to all the centers of legal education while generally advising the legal educational institutes to be considerate towards students and to lend them a helping hand during these extraordinary circumstances.
- To frame an alternative flexible scheme for payment of fees in easy installments instead of a lumpsum payment in one stretch
- To adjust the payable fees by reducing the proportionate costs on electricity and infrastructure maintenance which are being saved due to the absence of physical classes
- To sympathetically consider any specific request(s) by students concerning payment of fees keeping in mind the hardships due to the ongoing pandemic
- To lend a helping hand to troubled students and not impose any penalty on fees and to not debar them from attending online classes in case of their inability to pay fees.
However, in the instant matter, the counsel of the petitioners submitted that pursuant to the abovementioned guidelines issued by the UGC and BCI, no decision had been taken thereupon by the University to date.
The second contention of counsel was that their results were not being declared for the reasons best known to the university, probably because of non-payment of fees.
On the other hand, counsel Akhilesh Kalra, appearing for the university stated before the Court that if the results are declared it may be difficult to recover the fees.
Although, he agreed that the university shall take a decision in respect of the representation made by the petitioners in the light of the directives given by the UGC as well as the Bar Council of India.
In view of these submissions, the Court was of the opinion that there was no reason for non-declaration of the results of the petitioners, as such, the petition was disposed of directing the respondents - the university to declare the results of the petitioners within one week.
The Court also asked to decide the representation of the petitioners taking into account the guidelines issued by the UGC as well as the Bar Council of India within a period of three weeks.
"The respondents - university shall be entitled to retain the degree of the petitioners till the decision is taken and the consequent action follows," the Court added
Case title - Ravi Sarthi And 2 Others v. State Of U.P. Thru. Prin. Secy. Higher Education,Lko. And 4 Others [WRIT - C No. - 5028 of 2022]
Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (AB) 356