Three engineering students were left in limbo on Tuesday after they were denied permission by the University of Mumbai to appear for their exams on Thursday. All this happened because last year their results were held back in a “reserve copying case” after their answersheets turned out to have been seized by the police as part of muddemaal, or seized property, following the arrest of a university employee for helping cheaters.
Race against time
The three students, who are not from the same college and live in different areas, approached the Bombay High Court for relief. While a division bench of Justices A M Thipsay and R D Dhanuka scheduled the matter for hearing on Monday, the students are now waiting with bated breath to know if they can sit for their next paper on Tuesday.
Rude shock in 2011
According to their lawyer, Advocate Amruta Patil, the students (names withheld on request) were not even aware of the seizure of their answersheets until the declaration of results in August 2011. It was only after the declaration that the students discovered their results had been held in reserve. “The future and careers of these innocent boys are at stake,” Advocate Patil said. “Interestingly, no copying cases were ever reported at any of these students’ centres. How can the university now say they were somehow involved in cheating?” The students then approached the university, which, after making them run from pillar to post, directed them to approach Controller of Examinations Vilas Shinde. In October 2011, the students learnt from the university staff that their papers might be with the BKC police.
The trio approached the police, who told them their papers were now part of muddemaal in a theft case involving temporary university employee Ramsingh Bhimsingh Girse. Their statements were recorded and they were allowed to go. According to the students’ petition, they requested the university to declare their results, and permit them to fill the exam forms for the next semester or grant them provisional admission. On May 14, the university convened a committee meeting to decide whether or not the students ought to be allowed to sit for their exams, which were to commence from May 17. Finally, the university rejected their request.
Director of Examinations Subhash Dev said, “The students were detained by police for three days. We directed them to clarify from the police or the courts whether or not they had any role in the crime. The matter is now sub judice, so it would not be appropriate for me to interfere.”