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The Delhi High Court directed Jawahar Lal University to grant admission to Ghalib Zeyad, a visually impaired candidate, on 5th August 2019 over a writ petition challenging the order of the Evaluation Branch of the JNU that had barred the student from pursuing his M.Phil programme for want of the requisite M.A. degree.

Zeyad had applied for repeating four courses of his second semester in order to improve his performance. This was however, in violation of the Ordinance 15(A) relating to the award of M.A. / M.Sc. degrees, governing the JNU.

Clause 7.3 of the Ordinance 15(A) provides that a student may only be permitted to carry an additional load, over and above the normal load prescribed for any particular semester, up to a maximum of 50% of the credits to be undertaken for that semester.

Even after being given the assurance that his application had already lapsed as it was an ‘irregular application’, the petitioner was graded F for all the four repeat courses as he failed to appear for them, thereby treating as if he never appeared for those four courses. This made him ineligible for being awarded the M.A. degree as stipulated under Clause 7.2 of the Ordinance 15(A), consequen to which JNU denied Zeyad admission to the M.Phil programme.

Justice C. Hari Shankar of the Delhi High Court set aside the order passed by the JNU and stated that “As the petitioner could not, in view of Clause 7.3 of Ordinance 15(A) supra, have possibly re-appeared in the four courses of his second semester, originally undertaken by him in April/May, 2017, his failure to so reappear cannot result in his being visited with an “F‟ grade in the said four courses, forfeiting the credits earlier earned by him at the end of his second semester. Any application, for carrying additional load in excess of the said stipulation of 50% would, therefore, be void ab initio, being in violation of Clause 7.3(b). The mere fact that, by inadvertent oversight or otherwise, the authorities, i.e., the Section Officer and the Chairperson of the CPCAS, and the Convener of the Examination Committee, failed to notice this proscription, and registered the petitioner for repeating all the four courses of his second semester, could not have legalized his application, or entitled him to appear in all the said four courses, in violation of Clause 7.3(b).”

The Court also criticized the University’s approach to the whole issue as it completely dismisses the physical limitation of the petitioner while dealing with the issue. “The attitude, that the JNU has chosen to adopt, while dealing with the case of the petitioner, can only be characterized as woefully anachronistic.” the judgment further read.

The Court restored the original grades, GPAs obtained by the petitioner in the second semester of his M.A degree and further directed JNU to grant him admission to the M.Phil programme.

–India Legal Bureau

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