Panjab University law department is set for a showdown after it recently asked students of its first batch of the one-year LLM course to submit more than Rs 23,000 each as pending fee.
With students up in arms against the move and department chairperson Professor Ranbir Kaur saying that the students would have to pay the remaining fee or they would not be allowed to sit in exams, the issue is likely to flare up soon. Kaur has even suggested that degrees of students not paying up could be held back.
The law department charged only Rs 19,000 – Rs 14,000 as tuition and Rs 5,000 as other expense –from each student instead of approved fee of Rs 42,000 by the syndicate on May 18, 2014.
Interestingly, the department itself has proposed a fee of Rs 48,000 — Rs 20,000 as tuition fee and Rs 28,000 as other expenses.
There are 42 students and the university stands to recover around Rs 10 lakh.
On why was the low fee charged in the first place, law department chairperson Kaur said, “We did not have a copy of the approved fee structure at the time of giving admission, which led to the confusion.”
“Students have to pay around Rs 23,000, which is a high amount. So, we have written to the vice-chancellor for taking the balance amount in easy instalments,” said Professor Kaur.
Unhappy with the decision of the department, students lodged a protest on Wednesday.
Chatinder Singh, one of the students, said, “We were taken aback when the department asked to pay around Rs 30,000 more without giving any valid justification. How can this sudden increase be passed on to us.”
Ashish Garg, another student, said that they had submitted a representation to vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover and would move court if the issue was not resolved in their favour.
Course no stranger to controversy
Before the one-year LLM course was introduced this year, a student had moved court challenging the decision to make the course two-year instead of one-year as announced in the prospectus issued in May 2014. The PU had cited a letter from UGC to all the universities as the reason in which it was stated that it would not recognise less than 2-year LLM course offered by universities.