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NUJS students mobilise, submit 2nd ‘no confidence’ petition in VC, as first judicial probe in 16 years concludes

Students overwhelmingly express and outline reasons for why they are so unhappy with admin
Students overwhelmingly express and outline reasons for why they are so unhappy with admin

NUJS Kolkata's vice chancellor (VC) Prof Ishwara Bhat now has a second loss-of-confidence petition signed against him by the law school's student body in his career of six years at the helm at the West Bengal national law school.

According to our sources, 500 NUJS students had signed the three-page petition within the first two hours of circulation.

The petition had been drafted by the NUJS Student Juridical Association (SJA) and detailed the administration's alleged failure to improve the law school's infrastructure and many other issues.

The SJA has submitted the petition to the three-member judicial review commission that is understood to have completed the four-day-long review of the law school's affairs today.

This is the first time in 16 years of NUJS' existence that such a review has taken place, despite the NUJS Act stipulating that a review must be conducted every five years.

Student body resolves: “Complete loss of faith” in VC leadership

The current resolution, which was approved by “an overwhelming majority” of NUJS students on 18 September, expresses “utter dissatisfaction and complete loss of faith in the leadership of [Bhat]”, based on 17 grounds listed under heads such as transparency, academics, infrastructure, health and hygiene, financial embezzlement, curbing student liberties out of retribution, proposal to increase student intake and to open two new branches, and then the delay in forming the current review commission itself.

The commission was constituted on 21 July, 9 months after former Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur, as NUJS' ex-officio chancellor, signed off on a resolution to constitute the 16-years-overdue review commission.

Commission concludes field-work today

The commission's schedule
The commission's schedule

The commission is headed by Prof Mohan Gopal, who is the director at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies Dehradun, with Nalsar Hyderabad vice chancellor Prof Faizan Mustafa and former Jammu University physics department head Prof Lalit Magotra as members.

The commission visited NUJS every day from 18 September until today, between 10am and 630pm, with one hour's lunch break in between.

The members met with various stakeholders such as the VC, selected representatives of teaching and non-teaching staff, undergraduate student representatives, post-graduate student representatives, members of statutory bodies, of the bar and of the bench, parent representatives, civil society members, academicians, research centre representatives, alumni representatives, government officials and intellectuals.

The commission concluded its visits at 430pm today, according to the official schedule a copy (see picture above).

A scathing review commission report at Nalsar Hyderabad in 2012, which had been suppressed internally, strongly contributed to the resignation of its then vice-chancellor.

(Read more so-called Nalsargate coverage here).

Read full student petition expressing loss of confidence in administration (PDF)

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