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Law Faculty & Lawlessness: An ironic bond that only gets stronger

It has been more than a year for the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi to be witnessing incidents showing utter disregard for law and order within the campus. The faculty was found to be in the news for wrong reasons for the first time in recent years when the Bar Council of India cancelled its affiliation due to non-compliance with statutory requirements. A tussle which was largely about the number of seats to be sanctioned for admissions had paced down in 2016 but not for long. The faculty is witnessing a pattern since last two years. The pattern is two-fold and covers seats-related issues at the time of admissions and attendance related issues at the time of end-semester exams. It is understandable that shortage of attendance and issues revolving around it are common in varsities across the country. In fact, arbitrary attendance rules of private institutions like Amity Law School, Delhi have been subjected to severe criticism by the Delhi High Court as well.

However, unlike other varsities, University of Delhi presents a unique problem which is less about arbitrariness of the institution and more about the lawlessness witnessed in the name of low attendance. On December 1, 2017, Prof. Ved Kumari, Dean, Faculty of Law filed an FIR in the Maurice Nagar Police Station for the theft of a CPU which carried attendance record of the Law Centre- I. The incident happened in the aftermath of the notice of detention of over 250 students on account of low attendance. After a month of this incident, lawlessness resurfaced in another shape when lock of the room, which was meant for keeping the answer-sheets safe, was found tempered with. Another FIR was filed and charges of attempt to burglary were recorded against unknown people.

Faculty has been witnessing a consistent sense of disappointment among the students on account of various factors. Delay in study material, lack of quality teaching, attendance issues etc. are some of the major causes of concern. Delhi High Court is witnessing multiple writ petitions and Public Interest Litigations (PIL) from the students of Law Faculty on account of various violations. University of Delhi, like any other central university, envisages an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) for every constituent college. However, there are differing views on the efficiency of such committees and their potential in dealing with complaints within the institution. It is majorly due to lack of such an internal complaint resolution mechanism that students have to resort to the process of the court to get their grievances addressed. Undoubtedly, some of these petitions are of a frivolous nature too. But the larger issue stays the same and affects the day to day functioning of the faculty with utter disregard for the students’ interests.

A bigger concern that takes birth out of such incidents is that the common student starts finding a way around the routine administrative procedures. Consciously or unconsciously, the faculty has been setting a wrong precedent by not dealing with such elements in the strictest possible manner. It is the need of the hour that the university takes cognisance of the mal-administration prevailing in the faculty on account of various factors. Legally speaking, the university holds the power as well as the responsibility to oversee the smooth conduct of affairs and it is high time that such responsibility is duly exercised.

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