'Ineligible' law student fights own case, wins

Aug 04, 2012, 07:05 IST | Samarth Moray

Quirk in university rulebook made him ineligible to appear for LLB examination even after he cleared extra BA and MA degrees to obtain necessary cut-off marks for law degree; court granted him relief last week

A 43-year-old Thane-based law student was granted relief by the Bombay High Court recently, after it ordered the University of Mumbai to consider his request to be permitted to appear for his LLB exams.

By the book: After passing his B Com with 41.88%, Raman was told that he was ineligible for LLB, as the cut-off was 45 per cent

Though granted admission by the varsity, the provision had been cancelled after he had completed his first semester. He then moved court, representing himself.

In 1987, Vinothan Raman obtained his B Com degree, securing 41.88 per cent. Raman said, “When I wanted to pursue my LLB in 2009,
the university told me I was ineligible, as the minimum requirement was 45 per cent in the open category. I also couldn’t give my B Com exams again, as the syllabus had changed. I would have to obtain a degree again.”

Raman chanced upon Annamalai University, which offered a UGC-recognised one-year long course for a BA degree. Raman appeared for eight papers, and obtained his BA degree in Political Science on October 16, 2009, securing 55 per cent. While pursuing his BA, Raman also appeared for his MA Part I examinations in Political Science and cleared Part II as well.

After spending a year completing his BA and armed with the required marks, Raman took admission in Thane Law College. When he had already completed his first semester, the University of Mumbai told him that his admission had been rejected, as he had secured 41 per cent in B Com, while the required total for open category students was 45 per cent. His BA result was also invalidated, as he had not spent three years pursuing it — an essential requirement according to the UGC rulebook.

Raman pointed out, “There are Supreme Court judgements which state that once a person is given admission to a course and allowed to give his exams, he must be allowed to complete the course, even if he is not qualified.”

On April 15, 2011, Raman, representing himself moved High Court against the university’s rules, requesting for permission to give his second semester exams, which were scheduled to begin on April 18. The court granted his request, with the understanding that Raman’s results would be kept in abeyance till further court orders.

The breakthrough came for Raman on July 31, when justices Dr D Y Chandrachud and R D Dhanuka ruled that since Raman had completed his MA degree examination, the vice-chancellor should consider if the petitioner could be given due credit for the first year of the LLB degree examination, which he had already passed.

The bench said, “If a relaxation of that nature can be granted in accordance with the provisions of law, the vice-chancellor may take a considered decision in the matter after furnishing to the petitioner a brief opportunity of placing such material or submissions as he may consider appropriate.” 

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