•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences

Jindal law school ends ‘deterrent’ cash penalties, aims to steer middle course on discipline in future

JGLS: Getting to grips with gates
JGLS: Getting to grips with gates

Jindal Global Law School (JGLS) Sonepat has dropped most financial penalties it could levy on students and ended the disciplinary practice of “gating” or restraining students’ exits from campus, as the Haryana law school has been attempting to balance security concerns with the freedom of its students.

Several months ago the administration attracted the ire of a group of students who had sent a petition requesting its faculty body to intervene in the administration’s current, allegedly heavy-handed security measures, including searches of students and heavy fines for violations.

Fines on students for various violations, published in the student handbook, had included Rs 5,000 for  getting caught with cigarettes, while alcohol possession carried Rs 10,000 and refusing to obey guards could attract a Rs 5,000 penalty.

However, OP Jindal Global University founding vice chancellor and JGLS dean Prof Raj C Kumar said that all of those fines were only ever there as a deterrent and were never levied. “We never enforced or implement them,” he said. “Simply we don’t want people to have impression that they can get away with just paying the fine [for violations].”

And since February 2014, all disciplinary fines on students were therefore abolished except in cases of “damage to physical infrastructure”, which may extend to five times the cost of the property on a first violation.

The punishment of “gating” - putting restrictions on offenders  leaving campus for periods ranging from one month to one year – was also abolished in February.

Security detail

Nevertheless, security remains tight on the JGLS campus in Haryana for a variety of reasons.

Faculty sources at the law school confirmed the existence of an elaborate tiered security system that includes body frisks and inspection of the belongings of every person entering campus.

“The check is to a limited extent, a general body search,” explained Kumar, but admitted that a “determined individual” who wants to bring contraband onto campus “cannot be stopped” even with the best security.

Campus security also includes breath analyser tests (a student refusing a test would be a disciplinary offence), campus surveillance by a battery of close to 100 cameras and two guards sitting in a tower to keep an eye on movements throughout campus.

Acts categorised as “acts of indiscipline” at the law school include possession or consumption of alcohol, cigarettes or other intoxicants,  keeping pets, ”public display of affection / obscene / lecherous conduct” or “conduct unbecoming of a student, bringing outsiders onto the campus without permission, entering and leaving campus without permissions, and not cooperating with those conducting security checks.

Dark times

Sources said that security checks were uniform for students and faculty, with one explaining that it was also implemented to prevent locals who did not belong to the university entering, having regularly roamed the campus unquestioned until as recently as one year ago.

Clarification: university registrar and professor YSR Murthy said that security guards are under strict instructions that faculty and staff members of the university should not be searched. 

Kumar said: “We are a residential university in Sonepat with just outside where the campus is [there being] complete darkness. People have come from across the country, sometimes across the world. Security measures have multiple objectives. When any security causes inconvenience to anybody […] in that context it becomes essential to figure out what is the best way to deal with it.”

A faculty member explained about the need for tight security: “These kids [students] come from a very different background. They actually have no idea of the place they are staying in. Haryana has a very different culture and they are absolutely unaware of the danger in venturing out like they usually would.”

Kumar added: “We have dealt with some responsibility and care. And we don't want to affect the liberal environment that is on campus. We don't want the situation where there is absolutely no checks and balances.”

“Many parents complain that we are too liberal – and students, many feel, we are too harsh on them that we control their movement,” Kumar said, musing that in an open house of parents held by the law school recently, parents were very pleased by the tight security with one expressing how it was “the best thing” that he got a call every time his daughter studying at the law school stepped out of campus.

Strip search

Several students and faculty sources recounted one student account that claimed security guards had carried out a search of a student and his dorm room for drugs, with the student wearing only a towel. Kumar said that security guards could only enter rooms accompanied by a concerned warden and that there “are different narratives” to such events - in this instance, “protocols were followed” and “obviously there was an exaggeration of the person”.

Faculty sources claimed that due to the “extremely privileged” background of students admitted to JGLS, some banned drugs were in use.

Kumar commented: "[Substance abuse] is a universal issue. It is not unique to JGLS. We are fortunate because of the intellectual environment here.”

Frisking students on campus, has not been a unique security measure at Indian law schools: at GNLU Gandhinagar a student filed an FIR against GNLU Gandhinagar director Bimal Patel after a frisk search. And in 2012 NLSIU Bangalore restrained student movement on and off campus after the rape of a student outside campus.

Click to show 35 comments
at your own risk
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.