Bar Council writes to CJI as NLSIU students boycott exams

Bengaluru (Karnataka): The Bar Council of India (BCI) on Monday wrote to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi seeking his attention to the protest by National Law School of India University (NLSIU) students against delay in appointing a Vice-Chancellor.

Students who have been boycotting classes are now boycotting their semester exams that commenced today.

“It’s a matter of deep concern that National Law School of India University campus is becoming home to unruly elements among students who have forced a strike and boycott of classes in this premier and most outstanding legal education centre of the country and the world. The agitating students have even announced the National Law School of India University,” Ved Prakash Sharma, Co-Chairman, BCI, said in a letter to Gogoi.

The student body has questioned the functioning of the executive council (EC) and accused the Registrar of deliberately halting the process of a new Vice-Chancellor.

Taking cognisance of the protest, Sharma said that the student body of NLSIU is indulging in acts of misdemeanour and indiscipline, which is bringing down the image of the institution in the estimation of one and all.

“The students body is crossing its limit by trying to question the functioning of the EC and accusing the registrar by imputing motives on him for allegedly halting the process of appointment of Professor Suclhir Krishnaswamy as Vice-Chancellor, totally forgetting that the registrar is also a senior professor of NLSIU and commands respect in the academic circles as an acclaimed teacher of law. Rumours are being spread about change of composition of the EC,” he said.

Stressing that Krishnaswamy was selected as VC by the four-member committee constituted by the EC on July 6 this year, the Co-Chairman of BCI said that the decision was to be adopted by the EC in its next meeting.

“There was no reason whatsoever for the student body to make it a controversial issue leading to the present unfortunate scenario. It is high time to address the acts of blatant indiscipline by the student body which call for stringent action against those behind the reprehensible move to disturb and destroy the peace and orderly functioning of NLSIU,” he said.

Sharma further said that student body cannot be a stakeholder in the process of appointment of VC or any faculty member, adding that neither the NLSIU Act nor rules permit them to be part of any such process.

The letter stated that the role of Krishnaswamy behind the present agitation cannot be ruled out.

“To restore discipline in the campus, the decision to appoint him as VC should be reviewed by the EC and suitable action taken against the students responsible for creating the present situation in the NLSIU campus. It is high time NLSIU is insulated from elements that pose a danger to the smooth functioning of the best law school built by decades of hard toil by most reputed legal luminaries of the country,” it said.

Sharma urged the CJI to include this letter for discussion in the agenda of the next EC meeting to be held on September 28, 2019.

Earlier in the day, former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah sought an early resolution of the NLSIU crisis.

“NLSIU-Bengaluru is a prestigious institution which has excelled in the field of Public Policy & Law. The ongoing tussle between the Student Bar Association and the administration has to be resolved at the earliest, without violating the due process, in the interest of the institution,” Siddaramaiah, the Congress Legislature Party leader, said in a tweet.

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