IN A setback to 107 students of Mithibai College in Mumbai, who were barred by the college from writing exams due to lack of attendance, the Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed their plea seeking permission to appear in the semester examinations of the commerce stream starting Friday.
A division bench of Justice R K Deshpande and Justice Prithviraj K Chavan passed an order after hearing a plea filed by 107 students of Mithibai College — an autonomous educational institution— who were barred by the college through a notice issued earlier this week. Overall, the college had debarred around 550 students from various streams, including arts, science and commerce, and self-financing courses.
The students did not fulfill the stipulated guidelines of having an overall attendance of 75 per cent and 70 per cent attendance in each subject as per the Maharashtra Universities Act. The rules stipulate that while overall attendance can be condoned by 5 per cent and lowered to 70 per cent, attendance for each subject can be condoned up to 65 per cent.
Advocate Swapna Kode, appearing for the students, argued that the benchmark could have been relaxed for students who did not meet the 75 per cent criteria since the college had relaxed the rules up to 50 per cent on earlier occasions.
However, the college told the bench that it has ensured due process to make students attend lectures and had intimated their guardians and parents regarding the lack of attendance. It was submitted that the college, since last November, had been sending reminders and warnings to the students concerned to comply to the undertaking for 75 per cent attendance, which they had given at the time of admission and is also prescribed in the prospectus.
The college further said that after due consideration, the list of errant students were made public before exams. Moreover, the instances where students were condoned for having less than the mandatory attendance was done on a case-to-case basis. The plea was not maintainable and should be dismissed, argued the counsel for the college.
After hearing the submissions, the bench led by Justice Ravi K Deshpande ruled, “It is not possible for us to compromise (on) the attendance discipline.” The court dismissed the plea and noted that the students did not meet the criteria as per rules.
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