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Calcutta HC sets aside rustication of 3 Visva-Bharati University students

The students – Somnath Sow and Falguni Pan of economics and Rupa Chakrabortty of Hindustani classical vocal – were expelled for three years on August 23 by the VBU authorities for taking part in a campus protest in January this year
A view of Calcutta high court. (HT archive)
Updated on Sep 16, 2021 10:05 AM IST

Educational institutions are being misused as breeding grounds of political parties as a result of which classes are not being held, exams are not held on time and results do not come out in time, compelling students to move to private institutions where they are treated as customers, the Calcutta high court said on Wednesday even as it set aside the rustication order against three Visva-Bharati University (VBU) postgraduate students.

This comes a week after the court asked the university to keep the rustication order “in abeyance”.

The students – Somnath Sow and Falguni Pan of economics and Rupa Chakrabortty of Hindustani classical vocal – were expelled for three years on August 23 by the VBU authorities for taking part in a campus protest in January this year.

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“The three student respondents appear to have been used as a front by some vested interests to bring the university to a standstill. The entire lot of students of the university have suffered as a a consequence,” added the single judge bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha.

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Set up in 1921 by Rabindranath Tagore, VBU is Bengal’s only central university, and the Prime Minister is its chancellor.

Students’ agitation began on August 28 when the three students were expelled on disciplinary grounds. VBU vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty was confined to his campus residence as the students blocked the gates. The impasse ended following the court’s intervention.

“Outsiders and political parties have absolutely no role to play in internal matters of an educational institution,” the order said on Wednesday.

Last week, the same bench of the Calcutta high court had observed that a level of education and maturity is required for a student to take an informed decision before accepting or following any ideology. In the absence of such education, the exposure to ideology of any political outfit would amount to indoctrination, which was undesirable.

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