HC questions Bar Council’s action regarding relaxation in attendance rules

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New Delhi, Dec 24 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has asked the Bar Council of India to explain its action in writing to the Delhi University’s Faculty of Law to relax attendance rules for over 500 law students in view of difficulties faced after demonetisation.

“How can the Bar Council of India issue such a letter? How can you (BCI) ask the DU to relax attendance rules? Explain your act,” a division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said and asked the Bar Council to explain its stand.

The court also issued notice to the varsity and the Bar body in the case.

More than 500 DU law students did not fulfil the minimum attendance requirement prescribed by the BCI for academic year 2015-16 but were allowed to take the semester examinations on the basis of a letter dated December 17 sent by the BCI Secretary to the DU, asking it to consider the matter “sympathetically for relaxation of attendance rules”.

“We request you to consider their matter sympathetically on the ground of their undertaking to fulfil the shortfall in their attendance in the next semester, failing which they should not be allowed to take the next semester exams. The recent currency ban may have been a ground and a genuine difficulty in attending the classes.”

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by S.N. Singh, a former Dean of Faculty of Law, who said that attendance and promotion rules were “flagrantly violated” by the DU during academic year 2015-16 and that no regard was given to the statutory rules in these matters.

Singh, who taught law at the DU from 1974-2010, told the court that the BCI had “no legal authority” to send any communication to DU for relaxing the attendance requirements.

Some of these LL.B. students did not attend even a single class but they have been allowed to take examinations, claimed Singh.

The petition alleged that after the semester classes in the Law Faculty ended in December, students started threatening and misbehaving with teachers about their shortage of attendance.

“The students included very influential persons such as son of a Secretary in the Ministry of Law and Justice, sons of two prominent politicians, one Deputy Superintendent of Police and many more. They all put pressure on the BCI to write to the DU to relax the attendance rules. Eventually, the BCI Secretary, ignoring BCI rules relating to attendance, sent a letter to officials of the Faculty of Law to allow all students, irrespective of their attendance, to appear in LL.B. examinations which were to commence on December 20,” claimed the plea.

Singh asked the court to order for the cancellation of the ongoing semester examinations for students who did not fulfil minimum attendance requirement and denied promotion to the next semester.

The petition sought directions to call for the entire records pertaining to this case for academic years 2015-16 and 2016-17 and an enquiry into the alleged illegalities committed by the DU by flouting the attendance rules.

–IANS

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