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DSNLU Acad Council to decide fate of 81 detained students, who’ve been protesting a week over confusion of discretionary 4th re-test

DSNLU students protest
DSNLU students protest

On Saturday, 29 July, DSNLU Vishakhapatnam is set to discuss the future of 81 of its detained students, who are protesting and living in makeshift accommodations outside its gates for one full week now.

The protesting students, now allegedly joined by non-detained students of the law school as well, number over 100 and are demanding:

  • A retest of semester exams for 81 detained students.
  • A written copy of exam rule amendments based on which they were denied this retest.

The protest began on Friday 18 July, as ANI had first reported.

Inked rule

According to DSNLU’s examination rules, students failing semester exams are given only three re-attempt opportunities: one in the immediately successive semester with their own batch, one in the semester after that with the junior batch, and one attempt two semesters after the semester in which they failed (as part of the repeat exam for the junior batch).

Students failing all three of these successive attempts are not to be promoted to the next year.

For example, students who failed the May 2016 even semester end exam were given their first repeat attempt chance in July 2016, their second in January 2017 and their third and final in July 2017. Students who failed the November 2015 odd semester exam were given their first repeat opportunity in January 2016, their second in July 2016 and their third and final in January 2017.

Discretionary rule

However, DSNLU vice chancellor (VC) Prof Kesava Rao exercised his discretion last year and on 17 July 2017 allowed a fourth attempt at clearing their paper for November 2015 semester detainees, together with the retest for the May 2016 semester detainees.

Therefore, the May 2016 even semester detainees had also won a fourth re-test in January 2018.

Under this special discretionary rule going forward the students, who had failed the November 2016 end semester exams were also expecting a fourth retest to be scheduled in July 2018 alongside the re-exam for the students who had failed the May 2017 even semester.

Challenge to discretionary rule

However, after some students failed at the special fourth re-attempt in July 2017, they challenged the exam itself in the high court as being against the written rules.

The high court ordered DSNLU to not exercise any discretion to deviate from the rules without putting an amendment in place approved by the academic council, Rao told us.

Complying with this high court order, Rao alleged that DSNLU had informed its students in January 2018 that there would be no special re-test in July 2018 for the students who had failed the November 2016 exams since the three re-test attempt opportunities provided under the written rules had already passed for them, and to allow for an additional exam like last year, the rules would first have to be amended with approval from the academic council.


Therefore, this month while the students who had failed the May 2017 semester were allowed to take their re-exam, no such exam was held for the students who had failed the November 2016 semester.

The students who had first failed in the November 2016 semester ended up being permanently detained and are protesting this allegedly “confusing and unclear” change in rules for which they are demanding a hard copy of the “written amendment”.

They are living in makeshift accommodations outside campus, including tents, tarps and an apartment temporarily rented by a few female students with funds donated by other DSNLU students.

According to Rao, detained students can occupy hostels only after taking re-admission to their course at DSNLU and these students have not yet taken such re-admission.

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