National Law School students at Bengaluru call of protests after assurance from CJI
A statement attributed to senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan that was released by the Students’ Bar Association of the varsity said Gogoi and Bobde said there had been a lot of misinformation regarding the process.Updated: Sep 23, 2019 22:47 IST
Students of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, called off a four-day long protest on Monday after a letter was released that quoted Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SA Bobde clarifying about the appointment of the new Vice-Chancellor of the varsity.
According to the students around 500 of the 600 total students of the varsity had boycotted an exam earlier in the day, alleging a delay in the appointment of legal expert Sudhir Krishnaswamy as the next V-C of the varsity after the retirement of the former V-C R Venkata Rao on July 31.
The Executive Council of the varsity, which included sitting Supreme Court judges, had selected Krishnaswamy as the new V-C. However, the students said the process was delayed at the behest of the registrar, who was one of the applicants for the post. The students also said that the composition of the EC was to be changed, which, they said, could have implications for the V-C’s appointment.
A statement attributed to senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan that was released by the Students’ Bar Association of the varsity said Gogoi and Bobde said there had been a lot of misinformation regarding the process.
“All responses of the Executive Council members have been received and nothing is left on that front. Only a formal decision is to be taken by the CJI in exercise of the consultation power, which will be out shortly,” Sankaranarayanan’s statement read.
“It was the clear understanding of the Sub-Committee that they were taking the final decision as delegated, and this was merely to be communicated to the Executive Council,” the statement read.
Sankaranarayanan said the judges expressed “serious misgivings” about the strike. “It was pointed out that the students really have no say in the appointment of the Vice Chancellor, and ought not to have adopted a measure that would browbeat the Executive Council,” the statement said.
In light of this, the Students’ Bar Association (SBA) said it had withdrawn the protest as the students had received the CJI’s assurances. Speaking to the press, Hamza Tariq, president of the SBA, said the students were very grateful to the CJI and said the protest had been about the lack of transparency from the administration’s side.
On the misgivings by the CJI, Tariq said the former had also said the students were entitled to dissent. “We are aware that the CJI was only pointing to our immaturity as 20-year-olds. We are sure we could have done a better job and we will of course keep in mind what he has said,” Tariq said. “However, a collective decision was taken by the student body on the protest,” he added.
Meanwhile, the co-chairman of the Bar Council of India, Ved Prakash Sharma, wrote to the CJI, who is the Chancellor of the varsity, asking him to revisit the appointment of Krishnaswamy, saying “the role of... Krishnaswamy behind the present agitation can’t be ruled out”.
Sharma said in the letter that the students were indulging in “acts of misdemeanour and indiscipline”, which he said was bringing down the image of the varsity. The SBA said it would not like to comment on this letter by Sharma.
Krishnaswamy told HT that he did not wish to respond to Sharma’s letter or on the matter.
Repeated attempts to reach interim V-C MK Ramesh for comments through phone calls and messages went unanswered the time of writing.