The Delhi High Court has sought an explanation from Bar Council of India for its alleged action in writing to the Delhi University’s Law Faculty to relax attendance rules for over 500 students in the backdrop of the difficulties faced after demonetisation.
“How can the Bar Council of India (BCI) issue such a letter? How can you (BCI) ask the Delhi University (DU) to relax attendance rules? Explain your act,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said.
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It also issued notice to the BCI, a statutory body that regulates the legal practice and legal education in India and the DU, while directing them to explain their stand.
The court’s direction came on a plea by S N Singh, former Dean of Faculty of Law, who said that attendance and promotion rules were “flagrantly violated” by the DU during the academic year 2015-16 and that no regard was given to the statutory rules in these matters.
Over 500 law students did not fulfil the minimum attendance requirement prescribed by the BCI for academic year 2015-16 but were allowed to take semester examinations on the basis of a letter dated December 17, 2016, sent by the BCI Secretary to the university, asking it to consider the matter “sympathetically for relaxation of attendance rules”.
“We request you to consider their matter sympathetically on the ground of their undertaking to fulfil the shortfall in their attendance in the next semester, failing which they should not be allowed to take the next semester exams. The recent currency ban may have been a ground and a genuine difficulty in attending the classes,” Singh said in his plea.
He told the court that the BCI had “no legal authority” to send any communication to DU for relaxing the attendance requirements. The plea claimed that some of these LLB students did not attend even a single class but were allowed to take the exam.
Singh asked the court to order cancellation of the ongoing semester examinations for students who did not fulfil minimum attendance requirement.
The petition has sought directions to call for the entire records pertaining to this case for academic years 2015-16 and 2016-17 and an enquiry into the alleged illegalities committed by the university by allegedly flouting attendance rules.