Short of attendance while pregnant, DU law student gets relief from top court
- The petitioner, had joined the 3-year law course at Law Centre-II of the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in August 2016. She was a married woman who attended the evening law course and successfully cleared three semesters. In the fourth semester, she became pregnant and could not attend classes.
The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Delhi University to issue a certificate and marksheet to a law student who was detained for falling short of attendance in 2018 following her pregnancy.
Noting that the order was being passed in the peculiar circumstances of this case, a three-judge bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said, “We direct the University to declare the 5th semester supplementary examination results of the petitioner and issue the provisional degree along with necessary certificates, if she had passed the examinations, subject to the petitioner clearing the other formalities. The order is passed in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case.”
The petitioner, Ankita Madan had joined the three-year law course at Law Centre-II of the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in August 2016. She was a married woman who attended the evening law course and successfully cleared three semesters. In the fourth semester, she became pregnant and could not attend classes. She was unable to join classes till March 2018. During that same time, a teachers’ strike beginning March 16, 2018 hampered conduct of classes due to which she fell short of the 65 per cent attendance criteria required under Rule 10 of the Bar Council of India Rules.
The University issued notice on May 9, 2018 detaining her and preventing her from appearing for the fourth semester examinations. She approached the Delhi High Court for relief. A single judge bench dismissed her plea. In appeal, a division bench in September 2018 found the University’s decision to be correct.
She brought her cause before the Supreme Court seeking an indulgence to attend classes. In October 2018, the apex court allowed Madan to attend classes at her own risk. Over the years, she secured interim orders of the Court to appear in subsequent examinations. Her result was made subject to the final outcome of her petition.
Justice Ramasubramanian, writing the judgment for the bench, noted that the petitioner had already taken the fourth, fifth and final semester examinations. The University declared all but one result of her fifth semester supplementary examinations. It even held back the provisional certificates to be granted at the end of the course awaiting the Court’s final order. Last year, Madan moved an application through her lawyers Ashish Virmani and Himanshu Dhuper for grant of degree, marksheet and character certificate by the University.
The bench observed, “Once the petitioner has completed the course and also written her fifth and sixth semester examinations and even got the results of all the semester examinations except the fifth semester supplementary examinations published, the adjudication of dispute in the petition will only be a matter of academic interest.”
Continuing with the string of interim reliefs extended to the petitioner from time to time, the Court finally let the University declare the pending result and clear all formalities by way of documents to be issued on successful completion of course.
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