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BCI gifts right of privacy to NLUO after debarred LLM students cry for transparency in exam rules

NLU Cuttack: Private
NLU Cuttack: Private

NLUO Cuttack is opaque about its examination rules despite requests for clarity, alleged three NLUO LLM who had been debarred from taking their end of semester examinations for apparent shortage of attendance.

The law school’s administration denied the allegation, even as the Bar Council of India (BCI) endeavoured to protect NLUO from an “unwarranted invasion” of its “privacy”.

NLUO vice chancellor (VC) Prof Srikrishna Deva Rao commented: “We have published examination rules. It is true that we have not provided hard copy of the rule to every student in previous year because we are in the process of revising the rules. University examination rules are published documents. Any student who asks for a copy of the rule or seeks clarification is informed about the same.”

“University tries to maintain complete transparency in matters of examination without compromising on the necessary confidentiality needed in the examination system,” he said.

The three debarred students, out of NLUO’s LLM batch of a total of 25 students, had less than 50 per cent attendance in the semester, which according to the examination rules published on NLUO’s website clearly disqualifies the students from taking the end semester exam.

NLUO requires 75 per cent attendance for a student to qualify to take the semester exam.

However a list of students not debarred from the exam, a copy of which is with Legally India, included students with attendance percentages between 50 and 74.

One of the debarred students filed a right to information (RTI) request with the administration to question this discrepancy and for publishing the latest updated examination rules. The student was told that the copy could not be published but was made available to individual students who had asked for it.

The debarred student then filed an RTI to the BCI for NLUO’s exam rules.

The BCI responded stating that NLUO had not submitted such rules to the regulator and even if it had, the regulator could not provide a copy of the rules to “any third party” to protect the “privacy” of NLUO:

In this connection, it is to inform you that the copy of examination rules is not submitted by National Law University, Odisha and also cannot be provided to any third party as it would cause unwarranted invasion not only in the privacy of the university/college but also on functioning of Council (Bar Council of India). Moreover, this information has no relationship with any public activity or public interest.

Further you can also take the copy of the said rules from concerned university.

The RTI applicant told Legally India that it was mandatory for law schools to submit their exam rules to the BCI under Rule 19 of Schedule III of the Legal Education Rules 2008.

Rao commented in an email to Legally India: “The university follows attendance rule. 75% attendance is compulsory. Exemptions can be given on valid grounds like academic leave for attending conferences, moot courts etc.”

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