The Bombay High Court on Thursday granted ad-interim relief to a first year law student who was rusticated from a law college for allegedly smoking cannabis inside the college campus. The Court allowed the student to appear for the internal exams pending the conclusion of hearing in the case.
The Court passed the order while hearing urgent applications via video conferencing through Zoom App.
Justice GS Patel was hearing a plea filed by the student contending that the college has taken disproportionate action and failed to consider relevant material in the case.
Advocate Mohit Bhardwaj appeared on behalf of the petitioner student and Advocate Manorama Mohanty for the law college.
Advocate Bhardwaj submitted that the student was denied an opportunity to represent herself and instead of considering relevant material, disproportionate action has been taken against her.
At this juncture, Justice Patel stated that the court is not concerned with the merits of the decision but the decision making process. He further enquired from Advocate Bhardwaj about the reason for such rustication.
To this, Advocate Mohanty stated- "Even though we are unaware of the exact reason why she was rusticated, they have relied upon social media posts of the student, along with one more student who was rusticated."
Thereafter, Justice Patel addressed Advocate Mohanty asking about the material relied upon by the college. Advocate Mohanty contended that college had relied upon photos posted on instagram wherein students can be seen smoking cannabis inside college campus. However, since the lockdown is in place currently, the college authorities are unable to access photos and other documents relied upon, Advocate Mohanty said.
She further submitted that the petitioner is not disclosing all the facts of the case even though the material relied upon was shown to the petitioner before action was taken against her.
Apart from the petitioner, one more student was rusticated and 18 others were temporarily suspended.
Justice Patel noted that since all the relevant material relied upon by the college was inaccessible at the moment, a decision on merits is not possible.
Thus, it is imperative that some relief is granted as a rollback at a later stage would be impossible, Justice Patel said.
The prayer of the petitioner to appear in internal exams was allowed.