Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Student can write special NLSIU exam: Intellectual poverty not a sin, says Karnataka High Court

New Delhi (ILNS): In quashing a ruling of the National Law University of India University (NLSIU) earlier this month about one student, the Karnataka High Court has maintained that if economic poverty is not a sin in India, neither is intellectual poverty. The court ruled that the student, despite his ‘poor’ academic record, be given a chance to sit for an exam meant for such students.

The NLSIU order had denied this student promotion to the next academic year and was directed to take re-admission to the third year during the current academic year 2020-2021.

Last week the Karnataka government had instructed the NLSIU, Bangalore to conduct Special Repeat Exams for a student who had arrears in 18 subjects.

A writ petition was filed by the student Aakash Deep Singh, who had enrolled at NLSIU in 2016, after the University decided to detain him in his third year of the BA.LL.B course on the ground that he had arrears of papers. The NLSUI, however, resisted the writ petition and justified its decision saying that the student cannot be given the benefit of a Special Repeat Examination under the Academic and Examination Regulations (AER) framed in 2009, as a fresh AER was put in place this year.

The court acknowledged that the petitioner had a “poor” academic record. The bench noted: “It is for such “poor performers” that AER 2009, which provided for the Special Repeat Examination, was promulgated.” It was also observed by the court that any student who had failed in more than one subject cannot ordinarily seek protection under Clause 10 of Regulation V of AER 2009.

Noticeably, the court also maintained that since other students who had failed in multiple subjects were given the opportunity to write special exams, the petitioner could not be discriminated against.

Referring to two previous notifications issued by the University, the court noted: “These two notifications not only show that the University treated the subject Regulation as being only directory but also stretched its meaning to benefit the “poor performers” who otherwise would not fit into the furrow of its text. After all, in a country like ours, if poverty is not a sin, being poor in intelligence too cannot be. Denial of opportunity that was made available to others in similar circumstances, would be discriminatory and arbitrary; it offends a sense of justice and causes the aggrieved a heart-burn.”

Justice Krishna Dixit directed the University to conduct a Special Repeat Examination for the subjects in which the petitioner has failed, within a stipulated time.

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