A section of students had moved the Calcutta High Court and another section the Delhi High Court over the courses being arbitrarily abandoned by NUJS. Some students have completed the courses but have not got certificates. Others who have been able to attend only a part of the course before they were scrapped want to complete the course. Another group wants the course fees to be refunded.
Vivek Narayan Sharma, an advocate on record at the Supreme Court who is arguing the case for students at Delhi HC, said it was hypocritical for the institute to claim it was not authorised to conduct online courses and then introduce such courses.
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Advocate Suman Sengupta who is arguing the case at the Calcutta High Court, said the university had offered to refund 30% of the course fee that was not acceptable. The case is now pending before the court of Justice IP Mukherjee.
An NUJS professor admitted the students had been victims of an arbitrary decision by the institute authorities. “Every law school has digital legal education online. There was a change of guard at the institute, following which the decision to scrap the ongoing online courses was taken in haste. An inquiry was conducted by the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology (MAKAUT) vice-chancellor into any irregularities in the courses and he had concluded that they should be conducted. Yet, the courses were stopped. I hope the institute does something to restore the institute’s integrity,” the teacher said.
NUJS vice chancellor Nirmal Chakraborty, who joined the institute when the courses had already been scrapped, feels a misunderstanding over rules to conduct online courses led to the problem. “The need for UGC permission came in around 2017. So courses that had been launched prior to that should have been completed. Since the matter is in court, we are awaiting the judgment and will abide by it,” he said.