Top Law School, NLS, Bengaluru faces crisis, Students boycott Exams

Written by Sabrang Staff | Published on: September 23, 2019

Students allege registrar is “deliberately stalling” the appointment of the VC, who’s a scholar of international repute

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More than 400 undergraduate students at the top law school in Bengaluru, the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) have boycotted their semester examinations that were scheduled to begin on Monday. This is for the first time in the college’s 31 year old history that students are boycotting classes and exams, protesting the delay in appointment of Prof SudhirKrishnaswamy as the new VC.

The main slogan of the protests at NLSIU is, “VolumusNostram VC” — translated ‘We want our VC’. Students have been demanding the immediate appointment of their new vice chancellor — in Latin, among other languages, for several days now.

Krishnaswamygraduated from NLSIU in 1998 and was recommended as the first three choices for VC by a committee headed by Justice SA Bobde of the Supreme Court on August 4. However, as per the reports shared by the students, the university’s Executive Council is yet to issue a formal appointment order. Prof M K Ramesh, a member of the NLSIU faculty for over 27 years, was appointed acting VC in August.

Students fear that the delay is an attempt to negate the recommendation and repeat the process of finding a new VC. “The Executive Council meeting is scheduled on September 28, a day after the exams end and students leave the campus. The administration is setting the ground to bring up dissent notes against the recommendation and restart the process,” the students noted.

The NLSIU Student Bar Association issued a statement on Sunday and expressed apprehension that the composition of the Executive Council is being illegally modified by the interim administration.

Read the statement here

 
 
“The composition of the Council has indeed been changed one week before its 89th meeting. The registrar has an evident conflict of interest,” NLSIU student leaders Hamza Tariq and DivyanshuBadole said.

It has also been said that the registrar Omprakahs V Nandimath has been “deliberately stalling” Krishnaswamy’s appointment. Nandimath was one of the 16 applicants considered by the search committee but his name wasn’t shortlisted.

At least 12 members of the Executive Council have approved Krishnaswamy’s appointment, forming the majority opinion. According to the students, abstentions and dissent notes have come in from several nominees of the Bar Council of India (BCI). Manan Kumar Mishra, chairman of the BCI, has sent in a dissent note, citing Krishnaswamy’s lack of administrative experience.

The acting VC set up a four-member committee on September 20, comprising two faculty members and two members of the student body, to look at the files related to the appointment process. However, after the committee reported lapses in the procedure and Nandimath’s alleged conflict of interest, the VC rejected the report, and walked out of the meeting.

Subsequently, the Student Bar Association called an urgent general body meeting to take a vote on boycotting exams.

As per the process, the recommendation should be formally endorsed by the Executive Council after a nod from the Chief Justice of India RanjanGogoi, who is the Chancellor of NLSIU, and a member of its General Council.

The administration, reportedly has sought to blame the CJI’s office for the delay in the appointment. “The CJI’s office has to sign off for issuing a formal notification, and we have not received that,” the registrar claimed in a meeting.

On September 13, the NLSIU alumni association had sought the CJI’s “intervention in ensuring the logical completion of the process to appoint the newly selected vice chancellor”.

The Student Bar Association has also come up with a plan to compensate for any academic losses that students may have faced due to the boycotts. It said, “In order to ensure that academics do not suffer, it has also been resolved that senior batches of the University will take sessions for the junior batches to compensate for the classes that have been missed in the boycott. Additionally, the Academic Support Programme has set up a database containing all available notes, summaries and past year papers with answer keys for the benefit of all students. We see this as the highest reflection of the ethos of the University: A University committed to the idea of learning, to the idea of academic excellence and to the idea of creating an environment which brings the best out of its students.”

“Our demand has always been, and remains that decision of the Sub-Committee formed by the Executive Council is given effect to. The decision of the Sub-Committee has been the culmination of a meticulous Search Committee process and deliberation by the Executive Council,” the Student Bar Association’s note said.