HC relief for doctoral students in JNU

In a huge relief for JNU students who had taken admission in PhD courses in 2016, the Delhi High Court on Monday quashed two circulars issued by the varsity in 2017 making an MPhil degree mandatory for candidates keen on pursuing PhD retrospectively from the 2016 academic session.

Eligibility condition

Justice Rekha Palli said that once the admission process has started, the condition cannot be altered to the detriment of the students.

The judge said that the 2009 UGC regulations, which was the eligibility condition in force when the prospectus was issued in February 2016, would apply to the students who took admission in 2016.

The students had challenged the circulars issued on September 21, 2017 and September 25, 2017 by JNU in which a condition was laid down that candidates who wish to pursue a PhD programme must have an MPhil degree. The students contended that the condition was not present in the admission brochure, under which they took admission.

The students — both Indian and foreign nationals — said in their pleas that the two circulars were based on the UGC regulations of 2016 which came into effect in May 2016, while their admission process started in February 2016.

“When the students had applied for their respective courses and were issued admit cards, the 2016 regulations were not even notified by the UGC,” one of the petitions filed by advocate Abhik Chimni and Govind Manoharan said.

“Some of the petitioners not only stand to face irreconcilable damage by losing an academic year and their ability to pursue the academic course as planned, but most importantly losing their funding and their visa extensions,” advocate Mr. Chimni, representing six foreign nationals and two Indian students, said.

Some other students, in a different petition, had also claimed that they have already submitted their synopsis for a PhD course and urged the court to direct JNU to permit them to continue with the course.

They had submitted that the new condition would adversely affect them since they have already started their PhD programme in June 2016. In November last year, the HC had stayed the two circulars until further order.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 6:09:27 PM |

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