After being continuously harassed by the Principal of Government Law College, Mumbai over conducting a re-test the students have decided to go public with all the facts.
The letter is below:
We are all final and penultimate year law students who were appearing for the internal and qualifying paper of Drafting, Pleading and Conveyance, among others, in our college.
On arriving for the paper we were informed that the duration of the paper has been reduced from 2 hours to one-hour thirty minutes. Now, as all law students must be aware, a paper of this sort requires intensive subjective writing including drawing up petitions on given topics and therefore the reduction of time was unjust and arbitrary.
There were questionable announcements made and instructions given during the examination and lectures, including the instruction that students must write their names on the answer sheets else their paper shall not be evaluated. Therefore, from the very beginning, the conduct of this exam has been fraught with incongruities.
Apart from the said examination, a number of other Viva, Written Tests and Journal Submissions were held by the college haphazardly, for the various batches.
In a shocking development, when the results were declared, more than 270 students had failed the various exam across all batches, including 120 odd students from the final year.
We tried to approach the Principal with our grievances repeatedly, but our requests were dismissed with impunity and the college security was called in to evacuate us from our own college.
All request of photocopies of answer booklets by the students has been denied by the Principal, effectively precluding the students of an opportunity to check their papers for totaling or calculation errors.
Denying students of an opportunity to peruse their answer scripts and not conducting a retest for the examination is in effect, pronouncing the students guilty without verifying the veracity of their claims.
Correspondingly, a selective set of students who were absent for the exam were granted an opportunity to take a re-test, multiple times through 3 days before the announcement of the results.
When a delegation of our parents met the Principal, their requests were summarily dismissed and none of their requests were heeded to on the grounds of a Governing Council Meeting scheduled later in the day.
The parents waited for a resolution of their grievances for the entire day only to be informed by the Governing Council that it is not within their powers to interfere in the matter, despite the gravity of the situation.
Given our plight, certain public representatives like the Yuva Sena under the guidance of Mr. Aditya Thackeray and Byculla MLA Mr. Waris Pathan visited the college to plead our case.
They were treated in a high-handed manner with their intentions being questioned by the Principal and they were even asked to evacuate the building. The Principal went ahead and decided to file an F.I.R. against MLA Mr. Waris Pathan.
On our representation, the Board of Examinations and Evaluation of the Mumbai University found that the decision to not hold a re-test was without merit owing to the established norms of the college and the practice of the other 53 colleges of conducting such re-examinations.
In such a scenario the Director of the Board of Examinations and Evaluation directed the Principal to conduct re-examinations.
It must be mentioned here that Mrs. Suvarna Keole, our Principal, herself had conducted retests for those who had failed and were absent for this paper last year, as per the established norm.
However, she unilaterally decided to change the established norms and has decided to drag her feet further on the matter by questioning the authority of the University to pass such an order, despite the college being affiliated to the Mumbai University.
The situation as it stands now is that the principal has decided to not heed any orders passed by any authority including the Mumbai University, or heed any requests made by elected representatives including Education Minister Vinod Tawde or MLA Waris Pathan who have personally urged the principal to implement this rule from next year with prior intimation at the beginning of the academic year, and conduct a retest for these 270 students.
We are absolutely despondent with our semester exams being just three weeks away and no clarity on our future having secured jobs and admissions in universities, all of which has been put in jeopardy by this blatant misuse of authority by the principal.
We issue this appeal to anybody willing to help, as a last resort, when some of the students are battling depression and nervous break downs due to this prolonged harassment at the hands of our principal.
We would like to categorically state that if any student suffers any adverse health consequences or takes any untoward step owing to this constant humiliation and oppression the only person responsible for the same will be Mrs. Suvarna Keole and her non-compassionate attitude towards the plight of the students.
Upon making this representation to the Principal she was of the opinion that such issues are trivial and do not merit her attention. She dismissed students undergoing extreme mental stress and ridiculed their state of mind.
As young citizens when the entire country is engrossed in celebrating democracy we are left to combat the authoritarianism and dictatorial diktats of our principal at the cost of our health and our future.
Helpless Students of GLC.