The SNDT Vice Chancellor and the Board of Examination fined two distance education colleges affiliated to the (SNDT) varsity, Rs 1 lakh each on October 5 as penalty for cheating cases in 2014 and 2016.
In 2014, during the MA (Economics) - semester-I examination, a university squad member came across a case of cheating in Viraji Bhimaji Gherwara Mahavidyalaya, Darwah. Later a committee sought a penalty of Rs 1 lakh from the college. As the college has not paid the sum saying they were not involved in cheating, a show cause notice was again issued to them on September 29.
"In 2014, we had only one candidate for the MA semester-I economics exam and she was caught cheating by the university squad. This is not a case of mass cheating. This decision is totally unfair," said an official from examination department of the college.
Another college, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar in Nagpur, which also runs the distance learning course under the SNDT university, came under scrutiny after a case of cheating caught by the squad during a 2016 examination.
"The University cannot penalise us such a huge amount. We will appeal to the varsity to reduce the penalty or else we will discontinue our tie up with them," said a trustee of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar College, Nagpur.
According to a show-cause notice, the colleges are penalised under sections 14(7) and 32(6)(a)(b) of Maharashtra University Act. These sections allow the vice chancellor and the board of examination of any university to institute an inquiry against the affiliated colleges and direct disciplinary action.
"In the past, the Mumbai university has penalised one college in Dahisar, in a case of mass copying. However, such punishments are valid only in case of mass copying," said Vinod Malale, PRO of Distance Education Department from the Mumbai University.
"From now onwards the university will be very strict if any college or persons connected to university examinations are found aiding and abetting the students to resort to use of unfair means during examinations. Such incidences shall be dealt with by the Unfair Means Inquiry Committee and the punishments will be imposed by the competent authority in accordance with the provisions of the new Maharashtra Public Universities Act, 2016 and the prevailing ordinances related to Examinations," said Shashikala Wanjari, Vice Chancellor of SNDT University.
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