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Students petition BCI for help in fight against law school administration after NLIU students’ suspension

Over 500 law students in India have signed an online petition to the Bar Council of India (BCI) to establish an All India Law Students Grievance Redressal Authority (LASGRA) to address student concerns such as a lack of campus amenities and representation in decision making.

Nine NLIU fourth year students were suspended two weeks ago on Sunday, according to an anonymous student’s write-up on Lawctopus, who alleged an administrative vendetta against students’ protest against the law school’s policies.

This and other grievances at other colleges between students and the administration, inspired an online petition supported by Lawctopus and the All India Law Students Association (AILSA), which states:

“Law students in India have wide-ranging serious complaints against the law schools/colleges they are studying in.

“The complaints range from issues like bad mess food and low internet connectivity to allegations that the top-most law school administrators are indulging in mal-practices and infringing the fundamental rights of the students.”

Legally India was not able to reach NLIU’s administration for comment but according to the student report, the authorities said that students were suspended because faculty had complained of misbehaviour and harassment that led to the faculty member’s resignation.

The students had protested on 9 October against the NLIU administration’s blanket ban on bringing private vehicles into campus while the college failed to provide students with alternative transportation. The ban had followed the September deaths of two students in an accident of their private vehicle.

The 9 October protest also targeted the lack of basic campus amenities such as a grocery store or a pharmacy for emergencies, an ill-equipped campus ambulance and insufficient doctor visits, expensive or unavailable food items in the canteen, having to deal with autorickshaw cartels for transportation to and from campus, and restrictive library timings.

The Lawctopus report stated that the student protest was stonewalled by the faculty member who came to negotiate, and NLIU director SS Singh was missing from the negotiations entirely.

In the petition the students have asked for two-pronged grievance redressal mechanism from the BCI: a law school grievance redressal cell (GRC) for complaining to faculty and the vice chancellor, and an All India Law Students Grievance Redressal Authority, which should be regulated by a BCI official for when the GRC “fails to perform”.

In July, NUJS Kolkata faculty and students submitted letters to the college administration running to dozens of pages of grievances, including declining faculty standards and opaque, apparently arbitrary decision-making from the top.

In May, the GNLU Gandhinagar review commission raised the law school’s faculty and administrative staff deficit, the policy of extracting heavy fines from students, lack of effective grievance redressal mechanisms for faculty and students, and examination rules, in a report.

In January, NLSIU Bangalore students negotiated with its administration for extension of unilaterally imposed impractical curfew timings on campus.

In August 2012, RMLNLU Lucknow students cried foul about poor campus placement efforts, lackadaisical administration, a lack of professionalism of the university’s assistant registrar, degradation in faculty quality, and no redressal of student grievances.

Petition at Change.org

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