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Day before his re-appointment, VC Ishwara Bhat got a terrible report card from most NUJS students

A vast majority of NUJS Kolkata’s student body last Friday (23 September) signed a Student Juridical Association resolution (see copy below) expressing their “deep dissatisfaction” with NUJS vice chancellor (VC) Ishwara Bhat.

One day before Bhat won a second term of five years as VC at NUJS, 476 students out of 625 signed a general body meeting (GBM) resolution by circulation affirming the “poor state of affairs” at the law school under Bhat’s administration for the past five years and his unsatisfactory responses to their questions on 21 September.

The students’ 23 September resolution noted that Bhat failed to deliver on the promises he made to the student body in the Student Juridical Association’s (SJA) January 2014 GBM, and then failed to respond satisfactorily to most points raised in the SJA’s 21 September 2016 GBM.

The resolution expresses the student body’s “utter dissatisfaction with the inadequate and evasive responses” given by Bhat at the 21 September meeting.

It was signed and circulated by students after the SJA produced a 20-page report, running to around 200 pages with annexures,

It is understood that the students had also submitted the resolution to several executive committee (EC) members but Bhat’s term was quickly renewed by the EC, which also saw a last-minute tabling of a West Bengal government proposal to set up two new NUJS campuses and to double the intake of students.

We have reached out to Bhat for comment earlier today with a copy of the resolution.

In the resolution the SJA general body expressed “deep disappointment” on the following counts (we have added links to previous Legally India reports on some of these):

  • Unexplainable delay in the constitution of a university review commission, which is overdue under the university’s charter
  • Not implementing basic transparency norms in university body meetings
  • NUJS annual reports suggest limited academic and research output between 2011 and 2015 – Bhat’s term
  • Neither has the quality of faculty at NUJS been revived, nor has the mass exodus of faculty been remedied, despite the recruitment drive of 2014, resolved students
  • Undue delay in implementing executive council resolutions for creation of a moot court fund and soliciting sponsorship funds for NUJS students, creation of a Right to Information cell and records section, complying with the Bar Council of India’s report that contained suggestions to remedy serious administrative lapses at NUJS
  • Undue and unjustified delay of three years in formulating and notifying a sexual harassment policy and grievance redressal mechanism for students
  • Not implementing several crucial academic reforms that were even approved by NUJS faculty several months ago
  • Consistent inaction on repairing NUJS’ ageing internet infrastructure
  • Continuing with the allegedly illegal interior decoration contract an expensive inquiry into which led to the dismissal of NUJS registrar Surajit Mukhhopadhyay for allegedly causing financial loss to NUJS through the contract
  • The lack of action against university officers allegedly involved in financial embezzlement of NUJS funds
  • NUJS having not yet claimed the UGC’s financial grant of Rs 7.37 crore to it despite consistently facing a financial crunch that has resulted in frequent substantial hike in student fee in the last three years

Bhat wins VC-term extension despite 470 displeased NUJS students
Bhat wins VC-term extension despite 470 displeased NUJS students

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