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‘ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY CLAUSE’- Rule 12, BCI Rules of Legal Education, 2008 – Delhi HC

GURU GOBIND SINGH INDRAPRASTHA UNIVERSITY.. VS. NAINCY SAGAR & ANR, LPA 713/2019 & C.M. APPL.48802-48804/2019- 19th November 2019

The bench comprising of Hon’ble Ms. Justice Hima Kohli and Hon’ble Ms. Justice Asha Menon in the High Court of Delhi delivered the judgment on the appeal against the judgment passed by the learned Single Judge on the matter of detention of an academic year due to shortage of attendance.

The learned Single Judge allowed both the writ petition by the respondents by stating the following direction;

“Thus, for the foregoing reasons, the captioned petitions are disposed of with the following directions: – 
The respondents will promote the petitioners to the 9th semester and in this behalf make suitable adjustments in the form of extra classes, if found necessary.
The respondents will inform the petitioners as to how they can take extra classes for the 8th semester and when they can sit for the exam qua the said semester.
The petitioners will file undertaking in the form of an affidavit with the Principal, VIPS to the effect that they will attend the stipulated classes.”

The contention made by the respondents/ students before the Single Judge in the writ petition to assail their detention order, the main pillar of the argument pivoted around the interpretation of Clause 9 and Clause 11.3(v) (i) of Ordinance 11 and the contention that since there was an ambiguity in the said Clauses, the benefit must go in favour of the students.

But the learned Single Judge failed to appreciate that a student who is short of attendance in a particular semester, as contemplated in Clause 9.2,  cannot be extended the benefit of Clause 11.3.(v)(i) solely on the ground that he has obtained the requisite credit score. A student must fulfill the twin requirements of having a minimum attendance of 75% and a credit score of at least 50%, which the respondents/students in the instant case, did not fulfill.

The High Court observed that

The attendance rules have been framed by the University in consonance with Rule 12 of the Bar Council of India Rules of Legal Education, 2008 which stipulates that no student of any degree program would be allowed to take the end semester test in a subject, if the said student has not attended a minimum of 70% of the classes held in the subject concerned as also the moot court room exercise, tutorials and practical training conducted in the subject, taken together.

The clause 11.3(v) (i) makes it amply clear that only upon a student obtaining at least 50% of the total credits of the existing academic year would he be promoted to the next academic year, Clause 11.3(v)(ii) sets out two circumstances under which a student can be treated as having taken an academic break, which are as follows:-

(a) When a student fails to get promoted to the next academic year on account of deficiency in the required credits, as mentioned in Clause 11.3(v)(i)  OR

 (b) When a student has been detained in a particular academic year.

The Hon’ble High Court totally disagree with the judgment of the Single Judge and thus stated that the word “or” has been used twice in Clause 11.3(v) (ii) and on both occasions, a clear distinction has been drawn between disqualifying a student from being promoted to the next academic year which is either on the ground that there is a deficiency in the required credits as stipulated in Clause 11.3(v)(i) or on account of his detention in a particular year. The words “detention”/ “detained” have to be understood in the context of Clauses 9.2 and 9.3 where they have been mentioned. Clause 9.2 stipulates that a student, who has been ‘detained’ due to shortage of attendance, shall not be allowed to be promoted to the next academic year or semester and Clause 9.3 states that in the event any ‘detained student’ appears in a semester/supplementary examination, his result shall be treated as null and void.

Therefore, the court held that;

In the absence of any one of the aforesaid two prerequisites, a student cannot qualify for being promoted to the next academic year. The consequences of not being promoted are that such a student would be declared to have automatically taken an academic break and he shall then have to repeat the examinations of the semester

Also the court observed that the respondents have not made any specific challenges to the legality or validity of clause 9.1 that prescribes a minimum attendance of 70% in the aggregate of all the courses taken together in a semester.

Thus, the Hon’ble High Court allowed both the appeal and the impugned judgment is quashed and set aside, without any orders as to costs.

View/Download Judgment: Guru Gobind Indraprastha University v. Naincy Sagar

Srutha R Elayidom

#Attendance #DelhiHighCourt #Legalnews #Mandatoryattendanceclause


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