THE CONGRESS governments in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are considering the idea of establishing a Student Rights Commission, a first-of-its-kind grievance redressal mechanism to deal with issues in universities related to admission and fees, discrimination, quality of education, delay in exams and results, and freedom of speech.
The idea is part of a Students Rights Act that has been conceived and drafted by the NSUI.
“It is a good and a positive idea. Students and their families have been airing genuine grievances. A lot of malpractices have come to light, like delaying of exams, unregulated changes in curricula, fleecing… the government machinery is not equipped to handle such grievances and genuine complaints,” Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot told The Indian Express.
“If a commission is formed, it can protect students, and especially those from the weaker sections can have a redressal mechanism, which does not exist so far. The students now have to approach courts for grievance redressal, which is a time-consuming exercise,” he said.
According to sources in the party, AICC secretary in charge of NSUI, Ruchi Gupta, has held detailed discussions with Pilot and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Bhagel on this issue. Sources in the Chhattisgarh government said the proposal is being legally examined, and indicated that an announcement could be made in the state Budget to be presented this month.
Sources said the NSUI is also pushing the Congress high command to include this proposal in its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections.
An NSUI concept note states that “students, especially first-generation learners, do not have any point of supportive and sympathetic contact for grievance redress. The various in-house committees at the college/ university level, if they exist, either do not function or are often aligned towards the interests of the management and/ or administration”.
“We see it as a two-step mechanism. A complaint will, of course, first have to go through the existing decision-making bodies of the universities like executive council, academic council or senate. That body should have a democratically elected student representative. If a student does not get justice there, he or she can then approach the student rights commission,” Gupta said.
“Our demand is that there should be two commissions, one at the state level and one at the central level for central universities,” Gupta said.