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Nalsar blames central government policy, lack of receipts in claims of unfair treatment of SC / ST students

Nalsar Hyderabad blamed central government policies for having to first collect fees from and then reimburse those to the law school’s scheduled category (SC/ST) scholarship students, in a response to critical media reports and pressure from the Student Federation of India (SFI) not to collect any fees at all from those students.

The SFI had last week made a representation to Nalsar vice chancellor (VC) Faizan Mustafa alleging that SC/ST students at Nalsar were being treated “unfairly”, after the law school withheld the final exam result of four such students for non-clearance of dues, reported The Hindu.

One of the students with knowledge of the issues told Legally India that it was “general knowledge” at Nalsar that even the SC/ST scholarship students have to deposit admission fees with the law school at the time of admission, as general category students do. When the law school eventually receives the scholarship amount from the central government, it reimburses the students.

The student said: “According to the [Central Sector Scholarship Scheme] you should not ask for money in the first place. The spirit of the scheme is that it is for poor students who cannot afford to pay. Now at least the scheme says you cannot take money from the students and submit utilisation certificate to the ministry of social justice. You should first arrange for [the scholarship funds being given to the students] and then ask for the bills.”

Mustafa told Legally India that out of the students’ scholarship amount, the law school had given them their books and laptop allowance on the undertaking that they will submit receipts showing purchase of books and laptop for the university’s records and central government audit purposes. When several students failed to submit these receipts, Nalsar withheld their result “under university rules”.

“The UGC Grievance Redressal Regulation of 2012 in Section 2 says that withholding results and certificates of students also constitutes grievance. UGC Regulations would precede university rules,” said the student.

Mustafa said in a press release:

“Sometimes there is a delay from the Central Government in sending scholarship grants to the University but as soon as University receives money from the Government of India, it immediately transfers it to the scholarship awardees. The other crucial fact is that University admits students through [Common Law Admission Test (CLAT)] and fee is to be paid to CLAT office.

The University has outsourced its mess facility and a private contractor runs the university mess. The University even pays mess dues of its SC/ST students when Government of India does not transfer money or delays it for several years.

The concerned students were also released book allowance after they had given their undertaking that they would submit a receipt of purchase of books as required by the Government of India. Two of them have not yet submitted the receipts which are to be sent to the Government of India and therefore the examination department withheld their result.

If the University does not keep proper accounts of scholarship amount, the Government of India would declare the University as defaulter and there would be an audit para against the University which would mean other well deserving students would not get much needed scholarship.”

The student commented: “What the university has done is [instead of] releasing the money earlier [they say that the scholarship money] application will not be forwarded to the government unless [the scholarship students] submit the bills. All the students submit the bill. They used to threaten us.”

The law school admits around 12 scheduled category students each year, according to the central government reservation of 15 per cent, and provides scholarship to five of those students based on merit in the rank list and on their parents’ annual income being under Rs 4.5 lakh, under the Central Sector Scholarship Scheme.

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