The Bombay High Court has restrained the University of Mumbai from introducing 'Choice Based Credit System' in LL.B Course( both 3 year & 5 year course) in the academic year 2018-19. The University has been directed to conduct exam as per the existing system.
The Division Bench of Justices B R Gavai and M S Karnik expressed the view that the "shift in the midst of the academic year would cause serious prejudice to the interest of the students, who must have prepared themselves on the basis of the old system"
On August 24, 2018, the University of Mumbai issued a Circular stating that Credit Based Choice System(CBCS) will be introduced. Prior to this, the University was adopting 100 marks written paper system for evaluation of performance of the candidate. This circular was challenged by in a batch of petitions - a PIL filed by Dipak Kumar Chattopadhyay a practising lawyer & part time law lecturer and petitions filed by two students, Parthsarathi Saraf and Rohan Manohar.
The petitioners submitted that they were not opposed to CBCS in principle; but were aggrieved by the sudden introduction of the system in the middle of the course without adequate preparations. Since the petitioners and most of the students have prepared themselves on the basis of the old system, the said sudden change would act to the detriment of the students at large, they contended.
It was their further the contention that the changed system provides for internal assessment of 40% of marks whereas 60% of marks are to be allotted for the written examination and that too to be conducted by the Colleges. This would lead to arbitrary marking system by different examiners as per their own choice. It was submitted that there are no clearcut guidelines as to how evaluation of internal assessment of 40% marks is to be done.
The University justified its decision stating that CBCS was a universally recognized system. Continuous assessment of the students was the new norm, as opposed to one time assessment with a final written exam, submitted the University.
The Court lauded the intention of the University to bring in dynamic changes and acknowledged that in educational matters Universities have the final say. However, in the instant case, the Court noted that the system was sought to be abruptly introduced, without giving adequate opportunities to the students to adapt to it.
"The only question that we ask ourselves is as to whether the same should be permitted during the academic session, when half of the session is already over", the Court expressed.
The Court noted that the University had issued exam notification on September 7 on the basis of 100 marks written exam system even after the Circular. This gave an impression to the students that the existing system will be followed. "It appears that the Respondent – University itself was under confusion as to which system it has to follow", observed the Court.
It was noted that the University admitted that this sudden change was done, since in the last year, on account of faulty online system, the results could not be declared in time. However, the Court observed that the students cannot be penalised for the fault of university.
Therefore, the Court passed a stay order of the Circular and directed the University to conduct the examination as per the existing system.
Advocates Uday Warunjikar, Abhishek Bhat, Sachin Pawar, Vishal Kanade and Madhulikha Murthy appeared for the petitioners.