Students-management face off over increased fee in Madhya Pradesh university  


A faction of affected students planning to file a PIL after talks with management and other recourses fail  

A faction of affected students planning to file a PIL after talks with management and other recourses fail  

A ₹7,500 fee per subject for remedial classes for short attendance has become a bone of contention between the students and the management of Dharmshastra National Law University (DNLU) in Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur.  

This increased fee, said the affected students, was 15 times the ₹500 per subject fee that those with short attendance had been paying to reappear in the exams in the DNLU’s four-year history thus far. They added that the remedial classes provision had always existed for the students to make up for the lost classes, but no money was charged before. 

May lose year

Saturday (August 6) was the extended deadline to pay this fee. A list shared by the students shows that nearly one out of every five – 120 of the 580-odd students enrolled in the university –  face the prospect of losing an academic year.  

A University order says that these students will “have to forego a year of his/her studies and pay the full annual fee for the additional year of the course” if they failed to sign up for the remedial classes and put in the minimum 75% of attendance.   

However, till Friday evening, a cross-section of the students – claiming the support of most others – said they were willing to risk the consequences but would not pay the increased fee. They added that they were planning to approach the Madhya Pradesh High Court with a petition to roll back the increased fee after their attempts to convince the management of a rethink failed. 

‘Excessive, arbitrary’

“The hike is excessive, arbitrary and unjustified. The students were required to be present in at least 65% of classes to be able to appear for examinations. However, the number of classes that were held were far fewer than the mandated Bar Council of India rules. Due to this, the percentile weightage for each class got significantly increased and the students who missed out could not make up by attending classes later,” said a fourth-year student.  

Another student said that genuine reasons such as medical leaves were also not considered by the University to make exceptions for some. “The amount itself is hefty and much more than what any other NLU charges. Some of the students on the list are those who are studying on scholarships and cannot pay such large sums, such as ₹22,500 for three subjects,” he said.  

A purported email sent by the Academic Council of the university on July 25, justifies the move. It says: “This process cannot be undertaken without some lesson being learnt by the students. Their parents also must take the responsibility to monitor their ward.”  

The initial deadline for paying up to pay the ₹7,500 per subject remedial fee was July 28, but sensing the opposition to the move, the management had extended it to August 6.  

Despite repeated attempts to reach the University Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar, The Hindu could not speak to them for their version beyond the copies of emails shared by the students or independently corroborate whether some of the 120 names in the list had broken ranks to pay the hiked fee.  

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