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Supreme Court Refuses To Entertain RGNUL Students' Plea Against HC's Refusal To List Petition Seeking Waiver Of Fees For Urgent Hearing

Shruti Kakkar
10 Sep 2021 5:03 AM GMT
Supreme Court Refuses To Entertain RGNUL Students Plea Against HCs Refusal To List Petition Seeking Waiver Of Fees For Urgent Hearing
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“We understand there are financial difficulties but institutions have to function”, the court said.

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain a special leave petition filed by undergraduate students studying in Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law ("RGNUL"/ "University") assailing Punjab and Haryana High Court's order of refusing to list for urgent hearing their writ petition seeking relief of waiver of fees for August- December 2020. Taking note of the fact that the...

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain a special leave petition filed by undergraduate students studying in Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law ("RGNUL"/ "University") assailing Punjab and Haryana High Court's order of refusing to list for urgent hearing their writ petition seeking relief of waiver of fees for August- December 2020.

Taking note of the fact that the matter was pending before the High Court, the bench of Justices SK Kaul and MM Sundresh asked the Senior Advocate to withdraw the petition and to which the Senior Counsel agreed.

The bench also asked Senior Counsel to make all his submissions before the High Court.

Justice SK Kaul, the Presiding Judge while expressing his disinclination to entertain the petition had orally remarked that although he understood that CoVID had caused financial difficulties but the institutions had to function.

"We understand that there are financial difficulties but institutions have to function. It is a difficult period for everyone. Teachers have to be paid & the institutions have to also invest in technology. Can the institution say that the expenses should be recovered from students on a pro-rata basis? No right," Justice Kaul also remarked.

Appearing for the Students, Senior Advocate Siddhartha Bhatnagar submitted that the matter was pending before the High Court and was now listed for October 4, 2021.

The petitioners in the SLP had argued that although the writ was filed in July 2020 but even after lapse of 18 months, change in academic session, passing of two semesters and beginning of new academic session, the High Court had failed to pass any order.

"Various adjournments have been time and again granted, and the students are being forced to not only pay the unjustified demand for unutilized fees but also being forced to pay late fees. The plight of the students is continuing for the third semester in a row and the same is having a cascading effect on this academic year as well," petition stated.

Assailing the High Court's order of declining to grant early date, the students had also averred that the High Court turned a blind eye to the plight of almost 900 students who were being deprived of various in campus facilities; despite of that, they were also being imposed fees on behalf of facilities which they had not availed for 18 months.

Referring to University's Finance Committee's decision to give a waiver to the LLM Batch, the students contended that irrespective of being on a similar footing, RGNUL failed to give any relief to the undergraduate batches.

Students in their SLP had also raised concerns about University coercing students to pay full fee by demanding an undertaking which required payment of full fee in instalments within a month before sitting for exams.

"Though the university didn't debar any student from sitting in the exam but has withheld the results of all the students who have not paid full fee including the ones who've paid the undisputed amount, i.e., tuition fee. It has also withheld the provisional degree of final year students who have not paid the disputed amount which is sub-judice in the court," students had also submitted to highlight their concerns.

Case Before Punjab and Haryana High Court

Students studying in RGNUL had approached High Court assailing University's notices dated June 20th, 2020 and June 27, 2020.

Vide notification dated June 20th, the University had taken a decision to charge the full fee for (August-December, 2020) semester and not provide any waiver and by notification dated June 27, 2020, the university demanded advance payment of fees amounting to Rs 1,13,500 and impose fine on delay.

The Petitioners filed an application before the Hon'ble High Court seeking early hearing of the matter, however, the High Court on August 3, 2021 while declining to grant any early date directed the Registry to list the matter for October 4, 2021.

Case Title: Aditya Kashyap and Others v State of Punjab and Anr

Click Here To Read/ Download Order


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