Update on legal challenge by JNU students against  changes to JNU admission policy, 20.2.17

The JNUTA is pleased to announce that in the Writ Petition filed before the Delhi High
Court by 5 students namely Shubhanshu Singh, Sarika Chaudhury, Akshat Seth, Aswathi
Asok, and Ankit Singh (W.P.C. No. 1557/2017), was heard today before by Hon. Justice
Kameshwar Rao. The Counsel appearing for JNU, Ms. Monika Arora, stated that she had
not yet seen the writ petition (although an advance copy had been served on JNU’s
standing counsel as per standard procedure). The JNU lawyer accepted notice and sought
a week’s time to file a reply.

The JNU Counsel, stated that since she had not had time to study the writ, she had
requested the Registrar of JNU, who was present in court to reply to another petition, to
personally reply. On the Court’s questioning, the Registrar, JNU replied that it was indeed
true that JNU was planning to issue the Prospectus in February itself. The Court asked him
to give an oral undertaking that the Prospectus (and therefore the formal process of
admissions) for the 2017-18 admissions would not be issued until the date of the next
hearing, which is 2nd March 2017, and the Registrar, JNU agreed to the same.

Counsel for the petitioners, a team led by Senior Counsel Arvind Nigam and comprising
of Vrinda Grover, Parijata Bhardwaj, Padma Priya, and Ratna A., argued strongly that
since the matter pertained to admissions, which were due to begin any day now, the
matter needed to be taken up urgently. Sr. Adv. A. Nigam also drew the court’s attention
to the admission policy notice of 16 February 2016 issued by JNU and argued that the same
would affect the educational prospects of hundreds of students already enrolled in the
university since 2016 besides prospective students.

It was further pointed out that reservation policy was likely to be violated by this
proposed admission policy, as a major implication of the application of Clause 6.5 of the
UGC Regulations 2016 would be a drastic reduction in intake of students. It was also
argued that the Admission Notification as it stands cannot be implemented, as it
contains several contradictions and many uncertainties, given that it was not even clear
as to whether intake figures would be computed on actual strength of faculty or total
faculty position, including vacant positions.

The students’ Counsel also highlighted the statutory breaches in discussions relating to the
UGC Regulations 2016. Matters affecting students must mandatorily be conducted in Part
A of Academic Council meetings, where student representatives are part of the
deliberations. However, the admission aspects of UGC notification 2016 were discussed in
the 141st and 142nd (B) Academic Council meetings, thereby excluding student
representatives, in clear violation of the Statutes.

The JNU Registrar also stated before the Court that current students will not be affected by
the UGC Regulations 2016, and that JNU will respect reservation policy. When it was
pointed out to the Court by the students’ Counsel that 308 posts were lying vacant in JNU,
the JNU Registrar indicated that the JNU will consider the proposal that intake capacity be
calculated on sanctioned faculty strength.

The JNUTA thinks that there is reason for the entire JNU community to be extremely
encouraged by the outcome of this first hearing, as the Hon’ble High Court has listened
and admitted the students petition and the JNU administration has agreed before the
Delhi High Court to withhold the Prospectus. Although we shall have to wait for the reply
that JNU files to judge the University’s sincerity (admittedly, somewhat belated) vis-a-vis
the statements made by the Registrar in court today, JNUTA’s doors for dialogue with the
VC and his team are wide open. We hope that today’s hearing would have kindled an
impulse towards self-reform in the JNU administration.

Sd/-

Ayesha Kidwai           Pradeep K. Shinde

President, JNUTA      Secretary, JNUTA

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