New Delhi: The Delhi high court yesterday asked the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) not to enforce an undertaking taken from the students that they would abide by university rules on attendance or face consequences, till it decides the pending issue of 75% mandatory attendance.
Justice Siddharth Mridul asked the university as to what was the need to take the undertaking from students when the issue was already pending in the court and added if the regulation of 75% mandatory attendance for students was upheld, it would be automatically enforced.
JNU’s counsel told the court that they were not taking any coercive action against the students.
The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by several JNU students alleging that by taking an undertaking from the students at the time of registration or re-registration into a course, the university authorities were in a willful and deliberate disobedience of the July 16 order of the high court.
On July 16, the court had directed the JNU not to take coercive steps against the students with regard to any matter under its policy on mandatory attendance, till further orders.
The students claimed that in the registration or re-registration form, the authorities asked them to give an undertaking that they shall abide by the attendance rules of the university and if they do not fulfil the attendance requirements, the university will take actions as per rules. The admission process had commenced on July 16 and had to go on till July 23.
The contempt plea claimed that by committing these acts, “it was apparent that the alleged contemnors (JNU, vice chancellor and registrar) have taken coercive steps against the students which is a willful, deliberate disobedience of the order dated July 16 of this court, and as a result, contempt proceedings ought to be initiated against them.”
The court’s July 16 interim order had come while hearing a petition by five professors of JNU’s different disciplines challenging the December 12, 2017 decision of the varsity’s academic council (AC), making 75 per cent attendance mandatory for students.