The last couple of weeks have been distraught for campuses, especially with Kashmiri students all over the country being caught in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack. While it was just one Kanhaiya Kumar being slapped with sedition charges in 2016, the numbers have quadrupled especially in the wake of the recent attack. While this dominated the student scene on one hand, there were also policy changes that happened in some other important universities across the country.
Here’s the fortnightly round-up of everything that happened and you haven’t already read on Campus Watch.
1. Kashmiri Students Face The Wrath For Their So Called “Anti-National” Comments
An engineering student was suspended after he posted a Facebook status reading “Aaj toh real mein PUBG ho gaya,” (It feels like PUBG is real life today) right after the Pulwama attack in Kashmir. His friend took screenshots of the conversation they were having, and circulated in the official group of the college. He was issued a show cause notice and suspended thereafter. Another Kashmiri student in an engineering college was expelled. FIRs have been filed against both of them by BJP legislators.
A student of AMU, 2 students of Punjab College, a student from a Gurgaon university, 2 from a college in Bhopal, and many more such incidents of Kashmiri students being attacked, suspended and expelled in different parts of the country for their “anti-national” comments are on a rise. A student of Maharishi Markandeshwar University (MMU) had recently shared how he had to shave his beard the first thing after the Sarpanch had asked Kashmiri students to be asked to vacate their accommodation.
Recently, the SC sent notices to the centre and ten other states asking them to file responses in a petition to prevent attacks on Kashmiri students.
2. Delhi University To Put A Camp On The Number Of Times Students Can Change Courses
Delhi University may put a limit on the number of times you can change courses during the admissions period. The suggestion made by the DU college principals to the committee on undergraduate admission policy has been taken for consideration by a committee. What usually happens is that students are allowed to swap courses in the subsequent cut-off lists. But, that creates hassles logistically on the part of the college because they cannot assess the number of students for a particular course.
3. Maharashtra Gets Its First Cluster University In South Mumbai
The newly formed Dr. Homi Bhabha University has officially become the state’s first cluster university. Sydenham, Elphinstone College, The Institute of Science, and Secondary Training College, who have de-affiliated from Mumbai University, will be a part of the same with The Institute of Science being the lead college.
The students taking admissions in the college from this new academic session will be a part of the cluster university now. The university will have its own fee fixation committee, curriculum, courses and exam pattern. Earlier in September 2018, the centre had rejected two proposals of the state government to forum two cluster universities.
4. HRD Denies Jamia’s Request To Award Shah Rukh Khan A Doctorate Degree
The HRD ministry has denied a request from Jamia Milia Islamia to grant a honorary doctorate to Shah Rukh Khan who is a former student of the university. The request has been denied on the grounds that it is “not in order” as a similar degree has been awarded to Shahrukh Khan by Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), though there is no fixed rule against it.
When The Indian Express filed an RTI to inquire about similar practices earlier, the Higher Education Secretary said that “it could have been the case that one institution did not know what the other was doing; as a matter of policy, we discourage such things.”
5. Assam Professor Who Was Suspended For Slamming The Army Goes Missing
A professor from Assam who was recently suspended over a Facebook post on the Pulwama attack has gone missing. Papri Z. Banerjee, a teacher at the Icon Academy College had, while condemning the attack, also criticized the army for “atrocities” on the civilians in the valley. She also called the attack an expected move by the terrorists.
While an India Today report suggests that she had been arrested, another report mentions that after being suspended, she had been detained by the Assam police for questioning. When she was supposed to come on the next day, and didn’t, a team was sent to her house for questioning but she was found missing.
In a similar instance, another teacher from Kolkata quit after there were protests after she disagreed with the CRPF jawans who died in the attack being called “martyrs.”
6. SC Grants Relief To A Medical College Student Who Lost An Academic Year Due To Cancellation Of Admission
The Supreme Court recently granted relief to a medical student who had lost an academic year because of her admission getting cancelled by the Kannur Medical College, granting her the liberty to pursue her claim. After Riya George obtained admission in the college, the Admission Supervisory Committee for Professional Colleges in Kerala cancelled all the admissions made by the Medical College for not complying with the mandatory requirements.
The apex court upheld the order of the committee that had led to 180 cancellations in two colleges. Later, when the Governor had promulgated an ordinance to regularise the admissions against the payment of ₹ 3 lakhs per student, the court struck down the order calling it an abuse of powers and an attempt to interfere with the powers of the Judiciary.
Thereafter, Riya’s father received a refund of ₹20 lakhs, and the Committee said that he was entitled to the due amount of ₹ 1.65 lakhs. Later, the Supreme Court also ordered the college to return double the fees deposited by the students. The SC allowed her writ petition saying that “a student who has been deprived of a valuable year in pursuing her studies, cannot be left in the lurch.”
7. Allahabad University’s ‘Suicide Letter Writing Competition’ Raises Controversy
At a time when the rate of students resorting to suicide are increasing, a group of students at Allahabad University had planned a “suicide letter writing competition.”
Shatabdi Boys’ Hostel’s literary and cultural fest, Udbodhan – The Awakening 2019 had been promoting the event supposed to have taken place on February 22. With an entry fee of ₹ 50, the event required a suicide letter to be written within a given number of words in this event called “Aakhri Alfaaz.” But after it received flak and the event was caught up in controversies, the students decided to shut the competition.
8. National Law Universities Consortium Decides Law Teachers Be Allowed To Practice In Courts
On February 19, the Executive Committee of the Consortium of National Law Universities decided and resolvedthat full-time law teachers should be allowed to practice in courts of law. This “historical decision” was taken to encourage law students to take up the practice of litigation as “the country badly needs litigation lawyers and there is need to bridge the gap between law in books and law in action.”
The committee further resolved that such teachers would be allowed to appear in court only three times a month; they won’t be allowed to spend more than 15 hours a week on litigation; and, it would be mandatory for them to teach a course on clinical legal education. The committee also said that if these cases are not taken pro-bono, then the fee received by these teachers would be shared between the concerned university and the law teachers in the ratio of 60:40.
If this were to be brought in action, Rule 49 of the Bar Council of India Rules would need amendment which prohibits full-time salaried employees from practising as advocates.