“What is the point of failing around 350 students? What are they trying to achieve by this?” says Nishant Narwal, a first-year student of Law Centre II. Narwal is one of the four students who have gone on an indefinite hunger strike, protesting against the mass failure of undergraduate law students in Delhi University (DU). He adds, “45% of those who have failed are first year students, the rest are from second and third year.”
The students are unhappy with the results because they believe that the “university has unnecessarily failed” them. “Students at the law centre compete against 40,000 students to get a seat in the faculty. Only about 3,000 seats. You really think, so many of us are so dumb as to flunk? You think we can’t score even the passing marks?DU has no right to play with our career,” says a first-year student, wishing not to be named.
Others who have joined him are Mithillesh Jaiswal (Campus Law Centre), Brajesh Singh (graduate from Law Centre I) and R Sowmyanarayanan (Law Centre II). The quartet has been on the hunger strike since August 14, and is surviving on water. Protesting along with them are other students who have faced the brunt of strict grading system and haven’t scored well.
Vidushi Bajpai of Law Centre I laments that while she had been the topper till last year, this year her percentage has dropped to 40%. “From 60% to 40%, my family and I don’t understand how my grades have dropped so much. If the teachers keep grading our papers this way, how will we appear for our LLM exams or any other exams? Career ka toh band baj jayega,” she says.
Students are also questioning the role of professors in this. “If so many of us deserve to fail, then shouldn’t the teachers who are teaching us wonder why aren’t they teaching us properly? Is their pedagogy so bad?,” wonders Jaiswal.
Other concerns that the students are raising slogans for are relaxation in the promotion of students to the next semester, the restoration of supplementary exams, reintroduction of re-evaluation, and improvement on the basis of best of two subjects.
“We received our results on August 8, and have since been asking the University to look into the matter. Our demands are very basic. Which institute does not have re-evaluation scheme? It’s a basic facility that all other colleges in Delhi University (DU) provide to their students. It’s not like we’re asking for the moon,” adds Jaiswal.
We contacted the acting-dean of the centre, Kamla Sankaran for a comment. “We’ve spoken to the authorities in DU, and have conveyed to students that the matter will be duly addressed and they should wait till Monday,” she said.