The Bombay High Court on Tuesday issued a contempt notice to the vice-chancellor of the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) University for not complying with its earlier order on a petition filed by a girl student suffering from a neurological disorder who was asked to pay admission fees for an entire academic year after having missed her final-semester exams.
“Records indicate you have been playing fraud with the girl, who is suffering from neurological disorder, by making it a prestige issue… Why shouldn’t you be sentenced for six-month imprisonment, apart from giving compensation,” a bench comprising Justices V M Kanade and A R Joshi said.
The girl had missed her exam in March 2014 and moved court in June 2014 after being disallowed to reappear for exam. Observing that the institute had not even bothered to file reply to the student’s claims, the HC said a non-bailable warrant would be issued against the institute’s representative if he failed to attend the next hearing.
What irked the judges all the more was the institute’s refusal to hand over a bonafide certificate to the student to the purpose of obtaining a visa for the UK, where she was advised to go for treatment. The judges had, on March 24 this year, directed the institute issueAR os her the certificate.
“We are surprised that even this request was not considered by the respondent (management). We therefore issue a contempt notice,” said the court.
The student, who suffers from “chronic pain syndrome”, had cleared five of the six semesters of her management course, besides the first paper of her last semester. However, due to her condition, she missed rest of the six papers in the last semester. Thereafter, when she approached the institute for a re-examination, she was asked to seek re-admission.
The HC also referred to one of the student’s allegations that the institute threatened her that she would not be allowed to clear the last semester.
Though discipline has to be maintained by the institute, the HC observed, a “sympathetic and considerate” approach was required in an unusual case where the student suffered from a “rare disease”. The court said the student had paid Rs 10 lakh for the course and even then she was asked to pay extra fee for re-admission. “The intention is quite clear which is to extract money.”
Earlier, the HC had appointed a committee on the suggestion of amicus curaie Rui Rodrigues to evaluate the student’s assignments and give a timeframe for submission. The committee, which was headed by Dr Kavita Laghate, director of Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, had on September 2014 filed a report on alternative means to evaluate the student given her peculiar case.