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NLSIU Students Call Off Protest After Clarification By CJI Gogoi & Justice Bobde On VC Appointment

Akshita Saxena
23 Sep 2019 1:49 PM GMT
NLSIU Students Call Off Protest After Clarification By CJI Gogoi & Justice Bobde On VC Appointment
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 The NLSIU Student Body has called off the protest and decided to appear in their exams, in view of the clarification given by CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S. A. Bobde with regard to the appointment of Prof. Sudhir Krishnaswamy as the new VC of the University.

The four days long protest began last Friday over an inordinate delay of about 50 days in appointment of Prof. Krishnaswamy to the said position. The Student Body attributed this holdup to the conflict of interest of the Registrar, Prof. O. V. Nandimath.

The issue of was also instigated on an information that there was likely to be a change in the composition of the Executive Council (EC) of NLSIU, for appointment of a new VC. The protest continued into Saturday when all classes, including those for post-graduate courses, were cancelled as the students boycotted classes as a mark of protest. As the deadlock continued, students decided to boycott their exams which were to start today.

In these circumstances, the student body requested Senior Advocate and alumnus, Gopal Sankaranarayanan, to approach CJI Gogoi and Justice Bobde seeking intervention in this matter. Considerably, CJI Gogoi is the Chancellor of the University and Justice Bobde headed the Sub-Committee which unanimously recommended the appointment of Prof. Krishnaswamy as the new VC.

In a meeting held this afternoon at the judges' chambers, the judges expressed "serious misgivings about the students of a premier institution going on a 'strike' for a matter like this".

In a letter addressed to the students of NLSIU, Sankaranarayanan gave an account of the discussion with the judges who believed that the deadlock was a result of a lot of "misinformation" going around.

On the basis of his discussion, Sankaranarayanan clarified that decision of the Sub-Committee was final and it was "merely to be communicated" to the Executive Council. He added,

"It appears that there has been a lot of misinformation that has done the rounds. All responses of the Executive Council members have been received and nothing is left on that front. Only a formal decision is to be taken by the CJI in exercise of the consultation power, which will be out shortly", indicating that the official announcement for appointment of Prof. Krishnaswamy as the new VC may come out at the 89th session of the Executive Council, scheduled on September 28.

Sankaranarayanan continued on the judges' behalf that "the students really have no say in the appointment of the Vice Chancellor, and ought not to have adopted a measure that would browbeat the Executive Council" while he did mention that the confusion was caused due to the "unhelpful" conduct of the administration.

Stating that the protest appeared to be based on an "incomplete understanding of facts", the judges urged the students to call off the protest and appear their semester examinations immediately.

Sankaranarayanan also informed the students that the judges were skeptical about attending the convocation ceremony of NLSIU in view of the hostilities. The letter read,

"Separately, a reservation was expressed about attending the forthcoming Convocation if the atmosphere were to be vitiated by student protests. They did not question the Constitutional right of students to protest issues, but were unsure of their participation in such an event. As judges holding office in the Supreme Court of India, it would not behove them to be subject to this. I have assured them that I will communicate this to the student body and if an assurance were not forthcoming, I would, in fairness, inform them in advance."

In view of the clarification provided by the Supreme Court judges, the student body of the university called off the protest. It also assured that no hindrance will be caused by any student at the Annual Convocation. The Student Bar Association stated:

"The boycott of exams and the peaceful protests is called off with immediate effect.

…no act of protest or hindrance shall be undertaken by any student with respect to or at the Annual Convocation…"

It expressed "eternal gratitude" to the CJI and Justice Bobde and assured that they shall respect the Chancellor's decision when it comes. Stating that their actions weren't meant to target any individual in particular, the Association apologized for having raised any misgivings or hurting anyone's sentiments. 

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