Tamil Nadu

Ousted V-C took exams in MKU to clear law degree arrears

Chellathurai insists he didn’t violate any rules; educationists express concern

Questions have been raised over the appropriateness of the recently-ousted Madurai Kamaraj University Vice-Chancellor, P.P. Chellathurai, having appeared for exams in the university, while holding office, to clear the arrears of a Bachelor of Law (B.L.) programme, for which he had enrolled in the early 1990s.

Besides the implications of a V-C sitting for exams in his own university, concerns have been raised whether the MKU could offer the B.L. degree anymore, since the Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University (TNALU) is now the only institution allowed to offer law courses in the State. The MKU stopped offering law courses after the TNLAU came into existence in 1997.

University officials said Mr. Chellathurai took the examination in May-June this year, following a 'one-time offer' made by the university last year — when he was holding office — to students of the 2008 and earlier batches to clear backlogs in accordance with the old syllabus. While the initial proposal was meant for undergraduate (UG), postgraduate (PG) and M.Phil students of the MKU and its affiliated colleges, it was later extended to B.L. and Masters of Law (M.L.) students too. A fee of ₹1,000 for UG courses and ₹2,000 for PG courses was charged, apart from an exam fee for each paper. Interestingly, while the exams were yet to be conducted for around 1,200 UG, PG and M.Phil students, who had applied to avail themselves of the offer around eight months ago, the university conducted exams for B.L. and M.L. candidates between May and June.

10 subjects

According to the office of the Controller of Examinations, three B.L. and two M.L. students took the exams on the university premises. Mr. Chellathurai wrote exams for around 10 subjects, an official said.

The university has completed the evaluation of these papers. However, the results have been withheld, following instructions from the Convenor's Committee (CC), which is presently looking after the MKU’s administration. “The CC, which included the Law Secretary and the Director of Legal Studies in Tamil Nadu, felt the necessity to analyse whether the MKU had the right to conduct these examinations for law courses,” a senior MKU official said.

R. Murali, secretary, Save MKU Coalition, one of the organisations that raised the issue with the CC, alleged that it was ‘academic indiscipline’ on the part of Mr. Chellathurai to take the exams. “Had his appointment not been set aside by the Madras High Court, he could have obtained a B.L. degree from the MKU, signed by himself. Is it not odd, to say the least?” he asked.

Defending the decision, Mr. Chellathurai said that the offer was made in the larger interest of the students. He stressed that there had been no violation of the rules, since the offer had been made to those who had enrolled in the MKU for law courses prior to the setting up of the TNALU.

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Printable version | Mar 26, 2020 11:43:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/ousted-v-c-took-exams-in-mku-to-clear-law-degree-arrears/article24484781.ece

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