Mumbai University results fiasco leaves law students in the lurch

Mumbai University results fiasco leaves law students in the lurch

Law students of various colleges affiliated to the Mumbai University are facing the brunt of the authorities’ handling of the final year examination results.

Students are alleging negligence on the part of the authorities after it came to light that several students were wrongly marked absent for various exams. Moreover, an inordinate number of students were failed in one particular subject, Law of Evidence. As a consequence, the students have been adversely affected in a number of ways.

One of the students left in the lurch is Rupal Agarwal, final year student of the five-year course at Government Law College (GLC), Mumbai. Speaking to Bar & Bench, she said,

“The major issues faced by the students are, firstly, enrolment to the State Bar Council, which has to be done before January, when the registration for the All India Bar Exam starts. The second is admission to higher studies, and the third is job opportunities. There may be some companies/law firms which can remove students who are on probation period because of this.”

The fact that several students who have hitherto cleared every single subject during their course have been marked as absent or deemed to have failed, is particularly fishy. Rupal says,

“Students who have not got a back for nine semesters, and even toppers are shown to have failed or have been marked absent. It is not just for the five-year course; the same thing has happened to students of the three-year course as well.”

In fact, a final year student at New Law College, Pune, who was not present for the IPC paper, was reported to have been given 21 marks in the subject. The results of some students have also been withheld.

The lackadaisical attitude of the University authorities has been under scanner of the Bombay High Court for some time now. One petition filed by the students sought expeditious declaration of results, something the University has been dallying on for over a month. Appearing for the University before a Bench of Justices Anoop Mohta and Bharati Dangre on Thursday, advocate Rui Rodrigues attributed the delay to the Ganpati festival and the rains in Mumbai.

The counsel also submitted that all results would be declared by September 6. The Bench directed the state Common Entrance Test (CET) cell to extend the deadline for applying to the University’s three-year law courses to the same date.

In another petition, three law students have sought Rs. 10 lakh in compensation for “loss of educational and employment opportunities” in lieu of the tardy declaration of the results. One of the petitioners intended to apply for Queen Mary University of London’s LL.M. programme, but was unable to do so, as the last date for application was July 31. The matter was argued by advocate SB Talekar.

During the course of the hearing, Talekar had pointed out that as per Section 89 of the Maharashtra Universities Act, the University is required to declare results within 30 days of the exam and shall in any case declare the results within 45 days from the last date of examination. That matter, listed before the aforementioned Bench, will be taken up on September 6.

So what is the way forward?

The authorities of Mumbai University have offered little in the way of relief to the beleaguered students. A recent notice on the website states that the fees for revaluation and for obtaining photocopies of answer-sheets has been reduced by half. This means students will now have to pay Rs. 250 per subject for revaluation and Rs. 50 per subject for photocopies of answer scripts.

Rupal has appealed to Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar, seeking his intervention in the fiasco. The demands made include waiving of the revaluation fee, quick declaration of the revaluated results, action against authorities responsible, and compensation to students who have suffered as a result.

The petition argued by Talekar on behalf of the three students calls for the constitution of a Commission of Enquiry under the chairmanship of a retired Supreme Court judge or a former Chief Justice of a High Court to probe the matter and the reasons for the delay in declaration of results.

In any case, things will become clearer on September 6, when the High Court takes up the matters.

Read the petition filed by three law students:

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news