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GNLU director Bimal Patel grabs power from exec council to invent new punishments, ahead of Guj HC hearing [UPDATE-1: Judgment Friday]

GNLU director grows even more powerful
GNLU director grows even more powerful

GNLU Gandhinagar transferred the power to punish students allegedly found guilty of prohibited activities and conduct during exams from its executive council to its director.

In November 2015 a student was accused of cheating during an exam, which the student disputed, winning a Gujarat high court order that heavily criticised the oligarchy created at GNLU under director Bimal Patel.

But in a resolution ratified on 27 February 2016, the university amended the Gujarat National Law University (Academic, Mooting, Internship, Examinations, Hostel and Other Matters) Regulations, 2015.

The series of amendments were only uploaded to the GNLU website some time later (available at http://www.gnlu.ac.in/aad/GNLU%20Regulations-Amendment%202015-1.pdf ) - an internet archive snapshot of the page of 30 March 2016 does not contain a link to the file, and according to a so-called http “response header” returned by the PDF file, it was “last modified” on 12 May 2016, suggesting that it may have been uploaded around that time.

According to the amendment to regulation 44 (disciplinary measures for prohibited activities and conduct during examinations), where the executive council (EC) had the power to impose “any other [disciplinary] measures [than those listed in the regulation]” on an allegedly guilty student, it is now the director alone who enjoys the EC’s former power.

The amendment to regulation 44(f) states:

Existing as, ‘Notwithstanding the above measures, the Executive Council on the report of the Examination Committee may consider imposition of any other measures as it may deem appropriate.’

Amended as, “Notwithstanding the above measures, the Director on the report of the Examination Committee may consider imposition of any other measures as it may deem appropriate. [emphasis added]

The rules amend regulation 44 dealing with disciplinary measures during examinations, namely:

Regulation 44, before amendment (click to see full-size)
Regulation 44, before amendment (click to see full-size)

The Gujarat high court is currently hearing GNLU’s letters patent appeal against its single-judge order that had noted that Patel and other staff members had turned GNLU:

into an oligarchy where all decisions are taken, reviewed and implemented by a select few, and students are casually denied basic human rights and natural justice

After that order GNLU had, during court vacations, filed for an urgent hearing to grant an interim stay on it so that the law school could conduct its internal inquiry into the student’s case of alleged cheating. The high court had dismissed GNLU’s application for urgent hearing on the ground that it was not confident of the fairness of such an inquiry within the university’s “four corners”.

Vacations at the high court are now over and the court heard arguments in the appeal yesterday.

The case is now listed for hearing tomorrow.

Update 9 June 2016, 15:29: Judgment expected to be out on Friday (10 June)

Patel did not respond to an email we sent him this morning.

GNLU Regulations Amendment of February 2016 (PDF)

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