MUMBAI: Bombay high court on Thursday made Maharashtra State bar council a party to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a GLC law student who highlighted differences in stands of Mumbai University, University Grants Commission (UGC) and state on one hand and Bar Council of India on the other on holding of exams for students not in their final year. The petitioner said BCI has suggested that exams be held within a month of reopening of colleges for intermediate year students too.
The HC bench headed by Justice Amjad Sayed asked Mumbai University to inform it stands and adjourned the matter to November. The University counsel Rui Rodrigues submitted that a circular issued by the varsity allows for relaxation of ATKT rules and for considering earlier semester marks as per an evaluation scheme devised. For the state, its government pleader Purnima Kantharia pointed out that final year exams for law students were already held..
A fourth year student, Samarvir Singh had in July filed the PIL seeking orders for devising “ a formula to pass students” of Mumbai university for academic year 2019-20 based on internal assessment as a one-time measure given the Covid-19 pandemic situation. It also sought orders to direct BCI “to dispense with its May 27 guidelines to conduct exams for intermediate year students’’ after the academic year starts.
An additional affidavit filed by Singh cited a recent Supreme Court Judgment which observed that there was “a rational basis and an intelligible differentia between a student of the final year and other students” while rejecting a challenge of there being a “hostile discrimination between final year/terminal semester and other students.’’
Singh pointed out that the UGC guidelines provided for promoting intermediate year students on basis of past performance for academic year 2019-20 as a one-time measure only. He said while the UGC grants universities liberty to assess local situations and resources and then decided on a mode of assessment for intermediate year students.
“Since the SC has upheld the UGC guidelines, the BCI guidelines ought to be quashed,” he said.
On May 22, the Mumbai university in consonance with UGC guidelines of April 29 issued guidelines to promote students of intermediate year on the basis of previous performance. Many colleges thus published results of students of intermediate years.