The Delhi high court (HC) on Monday gave teachers of the Delhi University the last chance to withdraw protests and conduct classes in semester mode immediately.
But agitating teachers also got some relief, as the court — for the time being — refrained from initiating contempt of court proceedings against them.
The agitating teachers had not kept their promise of desisting from protests till the court took a final stand on the validity of the varsity’s ordinance for implementation of the system in the science and arts streams.
Significantly, the court reiterated that, “We cannot, at present, ignore the stand of the university that the semester system is in the interest of students.” A bench of chief justice Dipak Misra and justice Sanjiv Khanna said, “We may repeat that teachers are expected to be role models for students. They are required to respect the orders of the court and cannot be a law unto themselves.”
The bench further observed, “At present, we are not inclined to proceed for contempt, but we command that all teachers of DU should cooperate in all aspects and teach in the semester mode and not proceed on the path of deviation, which would, in the slightest manner, bring them in the net of violators of the orders of the Court.”
The bench said, “We hope and trust that the teaching community — which is expected to be a disciplined one — shall not compel this court to take any stringent action, owing to their conduct or action in future. They should await the verdict of this court,” said the Bench.
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing on behalf of the protesting teachers, said the system had been brought in “without following the due process of law and there wasn’t even a proper debate before its implementation.” The court also warned the teachers that they “shall not even harbour the notion of peaceful protest by teaching outside the classrooms or in tents.”
Meanwhile, the university said that the implementation of the semester system had never been stayed by the court. It added that the teachers had defied the earlier directions not to organise protests, till the court pronounced its final verdict and therefore it amounted to clear contempt of court.