The Bombay High Court on Friday expressed displeasure against Mithibai College, Vile Parle (West), an autonomous institution in Mumbai, for allowing students with 60 per cent attendance to give summer examinations, while it had earlier stated that 70 per cent attendance for each subject was mandatory as per the Maharashtra Universities Act.
Observing that the matter involves issues related to attendance discipline and the future of several students, the Court directed the college to take ‘adequate steps’ in the issue before it.
A division bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and Nitin R Borkar heard through videoconference, a plea by student filed through advocate Harshad Bhadbhade, stating that she had 58.9 per cent attendance in the fourth semester of SY BCom and that the college permitted students with 59 per cent attendance to appear for exams and also promoted them to next year.
Earlier, on March 12, in a setback to 107 students of Mithibai College, who were barred by the college from writing exams due to lack of attendance, the HC had dismissed their plea seeking permission to appear in the semester examinations of the commerce stream. Overall, the college had debarred around 550 students from various streams, including arts, science and commerce, and self-financing courses.
The college had then said that students were required to fulfill the stipulated 75 per cent overall attendance and 70 per cent attendance for 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.
In view of this, the bench on Friday noted that the college principal Rajpal Hande, in his reply filed on June 18 had said that students who secured less than 75 per cent attendance would have to take re-admission in the same semester in the subsequent academic year.
However, the judges said that it was for the first time the college in its written submissions stated that it had allowed students with 60 per cent attendance to appear for the semester IV exams. When further enquired by the bench, Hande said that students with 59.2 per cent attendance were allowed to give exams and the decision was taken on March 6, this year.
Thereafter, the Court questioned as to why this fact was suppressed in the college’s June 18 submission, which stated that 70 per cent attendance was mandatory and also if the earlier bench, which dismissed plea of 107 students on March 12 was informed of the March 6 decision.
After perusing March 12 order and submissions by the College, the HC noted that it was ‘clear’ that the earlier bench was not informed about the March 6 decision to allow students with 59.2 per cent to appear for semester exams, the Court expressed its displeasure and directed the college to take adequate steps.
The bench led by Justice Kathawalla observed, “Keeping in view that the matter involves serious issues pertaining to attendance discipline, which the College wants to assert, and also as the same involves the future of several students, we are granting time to the College to take adequate steps in the matter.”
The Court posted further hearing on Monday, June 29.
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