A single judge bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit of Karnataka High Court on 18th december 2020 directed National Law School of India University (NLSIU) to promote a 4th year B.A. LL.B (Hons) NLSIU student for the academic year 2020-21 who was denied promotion citing attendance shortage.
The court questioned the approach of the medical officer of university. The medical officer refused to attest the medical records of the petitioner claiming that (NLSIU student) petitioner’s attendance was 65% which is less than the prescribed 67%.
The Court noted that the University had condoned attendance shortage to several other students despite their attendance being shorter than the prescribed percentage.
The court also observed the affidavit by the Registrar of the University admitting that in a case of one particular NLSIU student condonation has been granted even when he had less than prescribed minimum of 67% attendance. To which court said,
“As already mentioned above, in several cases the University had granted condonation of shortage of attendance under the very same Regulations; however, in the case of the petitioner NLSIU student, a step-motherly treatment is meted out to his detriment; this is not a happy thing to happen at the hands of the University which enjoys a great academic reputation in the country.”
The university contended that “Academic Examination Regulations [AER] being mandatory do not admit leniency; matters like this by their very nature need to be left to the University authorities sans judicial interference; lastly, petitioner’s conduct disentitles him to any relief in the writ jurisdiction.”
The bench said “Denial of admission to the petitioner to the 4th year of the course is on the specific grounds that he has a shortage of attendance in two courses and he has secured ‘F’ Grade in Criminal Law III (3rd year, VII Semester). Respondents have invoked provisions of AER 2020 which this Court has already held to have no retrospective effect in W.P.No.11287/2020 between AAKASHDEEP SINGH Vs. NLSIU & ANOTHER, that being the position, case of the petitioner ought to have been treated under AER 2009, and not under AER 2020 wrongly; thus there is an error apparent on the face of the record, that has caused enormous prejudice to the petitioner.”
The University had argued that petitioner (NLSIU student) is not entitled to condonation of attendance shortage since he had a little less than 67% of attendance under AER 2009. The court said “There is no explicit preamble or purpose clause in these Regulations” referring to Clauses (a) & (c) of Regulation II (1) of AER 2009 ,
The court observed that,
“The contention that petitioner ought to have submitted an application seeking condonation of attendance shortage within six days of resuming the class attendance sounds unreasonable.”
“It is not that the University was launching a Satellite within those six days and delay of a few days has prevented it from launching one; even otherwise such a contention cannot be countenanced when said requirement arose under the directory provisions of Regulations which admit a lot of discretion & leniency, by their very nature.”
The court allowed the petition and rendered relief to the NLSIU student.