Author: Vishakha Jaiprakash Thanvi, TMV Lokmanya Tilak Law College
VIBHOR ANAND & ORS. VS VICE-CHANCELLOR, GURU GOBIND INDRAPRASTHA UNIVERSITY
Court: High Court of New Delhi
Case no: W.P.(C) No.3163/2010
Date of decision: 07th December 2010
Petitioner: Vibhor Anand & Ors.
Respondent: Vice-Chancellor, Guru Gobind Indraprastha University & Ors
The Bar Council of India is the statutory body for regulating the legal practices in the country. The body prescribes the professional conduct for lawyers in India and also sets the standards for legal education by issuing certain norms regarding the attendance of the law students in their respective law colleges. Currently as per the attendance rule 12 of BCI, a law student is required to attend a minimum of 70% of the classes in his subject concerned, any student not obliging by the above rule shall not be allowed to take end semester examination of the subject concerned, moreover, if a student fails to attend 70% because of any unusual reason, then the dean of that particular university is allowed to grant a concession to such student letting he/she attending minimum 65 % in his subject concerned and 70% in all subjects together. The present case also deals with the attendance issue of a sixth semester LLB student from Guru Gobind Indraprastha University, he is prohibited from taking his end term examination because of his shortage of attendance in regular lectures and less than required credit score.
Facts of the case:
A student of the sixth semester LLB course, Vibhor Anand filed a petition against his university to allow him for giving his sixth-semester end-term examination as he was being prevented from taking the examination because of his low attendance in his regular lectures. The petitioner that is the student also challenged the appointment of the dean of his university for striking down the said appointment. After this, the court did allow him to appear for his examinations with a writer but the result of his examination would be kept in a sealed cover after this counter-affidavit was filed by the respondent University, Consequently, after the hearings, the result of the petitioner wasn’t declared and he didn’t attend any classes for and later on it was raised by the petitioner’s side that if he is found to be passed in the examination, then he shall be allowed to enter into the seventh semester and attend lectures of the same class and if found to be failed then he shall be allowed to take sixth-semester end term examination. The University is against the above claim made by the student of letting him enter the seventh-semester examination on the grounds that he didn’t pass the requisite number of papers which a student is required to before entering into the next term.
Issues raised by the Respondent:
1) Was the petitioner legally eligible to be promoted to next semester if he didn’t achieve the required credit score up to the sixth semester of his course and also couldn’t fulfill the attendance requirement prescribed by BCI & the respondent university?
Issues raised by the Petitioner:
1) Was the decision of the respondent university valid from legal terms by stopping the promotion of the petitioner from the sixth to the seventh semester?
Arguments made by the Respondent:
1)The petitioner could pass only 5 out of 30 papers up to his sixth semester thus he couldn’t achieve the credit score required for promotion to further semester.
2)That the petitioner had attended only 28.5% of the total lectures in the sixth semester as against the requirement of 75%.
3)The petitioner claimed for attendance of extracurricular activities but even if the petitioner is awarded Grace attendance of being volunteer trainee at commonwealth games then too the attendance would reach from 28.5% to 49% only, which is much below the attendance prescribed by the Bar Council of India and the University rules.
4) The petitioner took admission to the BA-LLB course in the university in 2006 but till 2010, he could pass only in 5 out of the total of 30 subjects in these four years. The petitioner was allowed promotion during these years on account of the policy of allowing promotion till the sixth semester owing to the condition of clearing the previous papers.
5) That the petitioner was found guilty by the grievance committee of misconduct in the class and was also found of using unfair means during his examinations in 2008-2009, due to which his examination was also canceled.
Arguments made by the Petitioner:
1) The respondent university fabricated the attendance records, as he attended most of the lectures and there can’t be any shortage of attendance in his records.
2) The petitioner claimed for 120 attendances for the time period he spent as the head convenor of the volunteer team in Commonwealth games in 2010 along with this the petitioner also claimed for 5 attendances daily on account of his medical reasons and 25% attendance for his participation in moot court competitions, projects, attending seminars, etc. The petitioner also claimed to be entitled to a waiver of 5% attendance by the discretion vested in the vice Chancellor.
3) The petitioner stated that details of his attendance were not supplied to him even after demanding the same from the University.
Cases on which the court relied :
Choudhary Ali Zia Kabir vs Guru Gobind Indraprastha University. It was held in this case that the attendance record of the institutions cannot be challenged before the court of law by the students because if so happens then the institutions will be engaged in disputes regarding attendance and will always be entangled in proving the attendance rather than imparting education to the student’s, also the court, in this case, held that it is extremely difficult or next to impossible for the courts to decide if a student has been marked present or absent correctly on a particular day since a teacher who’s imparting education won’t mark a student present in the class to be absent. It was also held that a student taking admission to a professional degree course is required to know about the norms and policies of the course, including the attendance policy as well and thus he/ she cannot be allowed to say that they weren’t aware that they were short of attendance. Moreover, the arguments on account of co-curricular activities, in this case, were also staunchly rejected.
Gagandeep Kaur vs Govt of NCT of Delhi
In this case, the difference between the voluntary and non-voluntary absence of a student from regular lectures was considered irrelevant and it was held that it is very much essential for a student to obey the rules of a course he/she has taken admission into and attendance is compulsory for a student to complete his/her process of education. It was also held in this case that a student shall not be provided with the Certificate of completion of a course or degree if he/she has not completed the required process of education. Moreover, according to the rules of attendance, a student is bound to attend 75% of lectures and is given a concession for the leftover 25% so it was held in this case that a student enjoys considerable freedom from the lectures and can easily participate in other Co-curricular activities and with this, a student has to maintain his/her attendance as per the rules.
Sukriti Upadhayay Vs. University of Delhi MANU/DE/2600/2010
In this case, it was held that attending lectures largely affects the practical training of a student, and failure of the same ultimately make a student ineligible for the claim of Certificate of course completion also especially for law Students it was held that if a student hasn’t attended lectures then he/she cannot take a leap to next year of course study.
The court held that the petitioner had a poor academic record and cannot be promoted to the seventh semester considering the same.
It was also held that the claims alleged by the petitioner on his teachers of fabricating his attendance were baseless and this was sufficient enough to exclude him from discretionary remedy under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution.
No credibility could be given for challenging the appointment of the dean in light of seeking attendance as the statements made by the petitioner were all factual.
With regards to the application filed by the petitioner averring the delay in his examination because of the faults of the respondent university, directions were given for the respondent University to permit the petitioner for taking his examination without any disturbance or delay in the same.
No contempt of court was found thus the contempt was dismissed moreover since the court did not find any merit in this petition it was dismissed and there were no costs imposed.
In my opinion, the judgment of the court stands fair as adhering to the norms and regulations of the Bar Council Of India guidelines for the attendance of law Students in their respective colleges, this judgment goes adequate because evidently it is true that classroom teaching is an essential part of the learning process and is directly proportional to the practical application of the same but at the same time the colleges should also understand the fact that being a law student, moot court participation and other Co-curricular activities play a huge role in one’s career thus there should be more concession given to a law student required he /she is engaged in a productive co-curricular activity which shall enhance his personality and help a student in excelling in his or her career.