Why isn't JNU in court against students blocking admin dept: Delhi HC

PTI |   Feb 17,2017 , 09:46 PM IST

Jawaharlal Nehru University
Jawaharlal Nehru University

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday asked Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) why it has not yet approached the court if access to the administrative block of the varsity was being blocked by students since February 9.

The query was put to JNU's lawyer by Justice V K Rao while hearing a plea by five students of the varsity that they be provided their marksheets and certificates as they want to apply for various courses and jobs. When the court asked the varsity to provide the documents, central government standing counsel Monika Arora, appearing for JNU, said that police assistance would be required to enter the administrative block.

"Even the Vice Chancellor is not able to enter his office," she said. "I am sorry. What is this? Why has the university not come yet? Is this not a grievance of the university? If the university is sitting silent, then I will say just give them the documents," Justice Rao said and asked JNU's lawyer to take instructions on why the varsity has not yet moved court and listed the matter for further hearing on February 20.

Apart from their documents, the five students in their plea have also sought removal of the protesters and restoration of functioning of the varsity's administrative block. In their plea, filed through advocate Pradeep Arya, they have contended that no protest can be staged within 20 metres of the administrative and academic complexes as per JNU's Academic Rules and Regulations.

The students -- Naveen Kumar Singh, Gaurav Kumar, Chandraveer Singh Bhati, Shivendra Kumar Pandey and Ashish Kumar Singh -- have claimed that since February 9, 2017, 150-200 students have surrounded the admin block to protest against a May 2016 notification of the University Grants Commission as per which there is a limit of eight students per professor for MPhil and PhD courses.

The appellants, who claim to be pursuing MPhil and PhD courses from the varsity, have alleged that the admin block had been locked from outside and inside by the protesting students. They have sought police protection for varsity officials so that they can enter the administrative block and get the documents which the petitioners want.

Students booked after police complaint

Following complaints from the JNU administration, Delhi Police has lodged an FIR against a group of students who have been occupying the administrative block on campus to seek an appointment with the VC over recent amendments in the varsity's admissions policy.

The students have been sitting at the administrative block, popularly known as the Freedom Square, since last week. The agitating students want to meet Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar and raise their concerns about the changes in the admissions policy which they claim will lead to a massive seat cut in MPhil and PhD courses. The administration had earlier this week appealed to the students to call off their agitation as the blockade was restricting routine administrative functioning.

"A complaint was received from JNU administration alleging that the students have blocked the administrative block and are not allowing any work to be done. We have registered a case of wrongful restraint and are investigating the issue," a senior police official said. While the VC had yesterday claimed that the amended admission rules will not be retrospectively implemented and students currently enrolled will not suffer, the administration has issued a circular to all the departments directing them to "re-calculate" the possible intake of students in MPhil and PhD courses under each faculty member.

"The JNU administration notice continues the flipflop. Complete contradiction of yesterday's statement by the VC. The past batches are back in jeopardy," said Ayesha Kidwai, President of the JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA).

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