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Student Misses Exam As His 'Mental Health Deteriorated During Lockdown', Gujarat HC Allows Him To Take Supplementary Exam

Sparsh Upadhyay
25 April 2021 4:45 AM GMT
Student Misses Exam As His Mental Health Deteriorated During Lockdown, Gujarat HC Allows Him To Take Supplementary Exam
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In a significant order, the Gujarat High Court on Friday (23rd April) allowed an Engineering student, who claimed that his mental health deteriorated during the Lockdown and thus, he failed to take the earlier semester exams due to depression, to take the supplementary exam. Observing that in order the petitioner is not placed in the irreversible situation and that the petition does...

In a significant order, the Gujarat High Court on Friday (23rd April) allowed an Engineering student, who claimed that his mental health deteriorated during the Lockdown and thus, he failed to take the earlier semester exams due to depression, to take the supplementary exam.

Observing that in order the petitioner is not placed in the irreversible situation and that the petition does not become meaningless, the Bench of Justice N. V. Anjaria granted him the interim relief to appear in the supplementary examinations for both the first and second semesters.

The facts in brief

The Student is pursuing the course of B. Tech. at Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute and vide its order dated 05th October, the Institute sought to remove the student/petitioner from the Institute as per the decision of the Academic Performance Review Committee on the ground that he did not complete the minimum requirement of earned credit.

It was the case of the Petitioner that during the lockdown, the mental health of the petitioner deteriorated and he reeled under depression which started from January, 2020 and peaked in May-June, 2020.

The Petitioner, it was submitted, an otherwise bright and diligent Student did not take the semester-end exams for reasons beyond his control.

It was stated that the petitioner conceived even suicidal thoughts at regular bouts and for such reasons, he could not appear in the examination which was conducted online by the Institute. Apparently, he didn't even communicate his mental condition to his parents.

Thus, the petitioner moved a Special Civil Application before the Gujarat High Court which was disposed of on 10th February, 2021 and the Institute was directed to decide the representation of the petitioner.

After the said order, the representation came to be decided and the Institute stuck to their earlier decision to reject the request of the petitioner by stating that in view of the Academic Regulations it was not possible to consider the case of the petitioner.

[NOTE: As per the said Regulation mentioned, the student was expected to complete 25 earned credit at the end of the second semester, failing which his/her registration may be terminated.]

Also, when the parents of the student came to know about the decision of the University to cancel his registration, they addressed a communication to the Institute along with the medical certificates of their son which portray a painful story and showcase the sufferings undergone by a young boy, however, the Institute didn't change its decision.

Student moves before the High Court

Again, the student moved the High Court praying that that the action of the Institute in issuing the impugned orders was wholly unwarranted and uncalled for keeping in mind the pandemic that had hit the world and the resultant lockdown that was imposed in this Country.

Importantly, the Counsel for the Petitioner, Ronith Joy relied on Regulations 15.3 and 15.4 of Institute's Academic Regulations.

Regulation 15.3 under the head "Examinations", provides that those students who are not able to appear in the semester-end examination due to compelling reason, could be given II grade on medical ground and such students may be permitted to appear in the supplementary examination conducted by the Institute.

Similarly, Regulation 15.4 also permits the students who have failed in one or more course in the end-semester examination to appear in the supplementary examination.

Regulation 7.3 was also referred to, which prescribes the procedure to file an application regarding the medical condition and the intention to sit for the supplementary exam, however, it was also submitted that due to the mental condition of the petitioner, he could not meet with the said deadline.

Importantly, perusing regulations 15.3 and 15.4, the Court observed,

"Whether the petitioner is entitled to the benefit of aforesaid Regulations 15.3 and 15.4 and whether the circumstances which prevented him from appearing in the examination Resolution dated 17th  October, 1988 compelling and whether they were special circumstances or they constitute a good medical ground, may be examined by the Court in detail at the later stage."

Further, considering all the aspects including the provision of Regulation 15.3 and the attendant facts, circumstances and the factors, without expressing any final opinion, interim relief was granted to the petitioner by directing the respondents to permit the petitioner to appear in the supplementary examinations which are stated to be scheduled to be conducted in the month of May, 2021 for both the first and second semesters.

Lastly, clarifying that permission given to the Student to appear in the examinations wouldn't grant any equity in favor of the petitioner, the Court fixed the matter for further hearing on June 25.

Advocate Ronith Joy appeared on behalf of the Petitioner-Student.

Click Here To Download The Order

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