73 students expelled for underperformance by the Indian Institute of Technology-Roorkee have hopes of another chance now with the institute's senate set to hear their second mercy plea on Monday.
Authorities at the institute said they were exploring ways to review the mercy petition after the incident to expel 73 students for flunking first year examinations became a controversy.
"We feel very sorry for those affected students. So we have called another meeting of senate as only the latter can review their decision. If decision goes against them (students), we will not do anything further in the matter. We can not overrule our rules," said dean (students' welfare) Prof DK Nauriyal.
On July 8 the apex body of the institute had rejected the first mercy plea of the students
The expelled students, a chunk of whom are from weaker sections, were registered with the institute in the 2014-15 academic year.
They scored less than five cumulative grade point average (CGPA) scores in the first two semesters, following which the senate consisting of 100 professors took the decision to expel them.
Though such expulsion had happened earlier in IIT Kharagpur (around 20 students in 2006) and IIT Kanpur, the sheer number at Roorkee invited accusations of academic ruthlessness.
The rule mandating expulsion of students who scored less than five CGPA for two consecutive semesters was framed last year by the premier autonomous institute to ensure “quality education.”
During admission, the parents had signed a declaration saying that students who performed poorly could be expelled.
This year, over one lakh candidates passed the tough entrance exam to get admission to 10,000 seats across 18 IITs. But at least some of them later found it difficult to cope eith the syllabus, authorities said.
"These students were non-performers throughout their first year in the institute. The institute had to take this 'tough decision at the beginning' so that they (affected students) may explore another options in other institutes like the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) to save their time and career," said Prof Nauriyal.
The parents of expelled students accused IIT professors of being unsympathetic.
"If school students, who get education under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan scheme of government, are non-performers in their classes and fail, government takes action against teachers but promotes the students,”said a parent
He was highlighting the no-retention policy of the government where students are not held back till class 8 on the basis of academic performance.
“We are hapless parents who had given custody of our brilliant children to highly qualified teachers of this 'elite' institute and at the end of day who was penalised?" said another parent on condition of anonymity.