Administration has no reply to queries on reasons for delay; students looking to enrol for PhD find themselves stuck
Mumbai University’s Kalina campus in Santacruz
Mumbai University seems to have not learned from the recent backlash it faced from the chancellor for the delayed winter Law examinations (LLB and LLM) results. The Semester IV results of the final year LLM have still not been declared, even after a five-month lapse since the examination took place in December last year.
This delay has had a detrimental impact on students who cleared the PhD PET (Preliminary Eligibility Test) examination in November 2022 but couldn't enroll for their PhD without the mandatory final LLM results. Similarly, students aiming to pursue further studies in foreign universities are now stuck without their final marksheets.
Furthermore, the first-year LLM students' examination, scheduled for May, has not had its dates declared by the university. The students have also not been able to fill out the examination forms yet.
Advocate Mikhail Dey, who enrolled in the Masters in Law in Criminology, expressed his disappointment, saying, "I was hoping to enroll for my PhD this year, but even after clearing my PhD PET entrance examination held in November last year, I could not get enrolled for PhD at Mumbai University without my final year LLM results, which is mandatory, and I am upset about the same."
Advocate Mikhail further added that the university had to declare the LLM Sem IV results within 45 days of the exams and viva, but it has been almost 5 months, and the students have no information about their results. The Law colleges are also clueless about the reason for the delay, as they haven't received any communication from the Mumbai University Department of Law.
According to another student, Advocate Suraj Shetye, who is pursuing his LLM in Environmental Law, the university's academic calendar has been severely affected post the COVID-19 lockdown. The teaching days in the university and colleges have been cut in half, not meeting the minimum UGC prescribed dates of 90 days. Even after conducting examinations, the results are not declared on time, possibly due to the lackadaisical attitude of university staff.
The delay in the result declaration has caused significant challenges for students planning to study in foreign universities after their LLM. They have missed the cut-off dates, resulting in a year's delay in enrollment. The affected students and their colleges have repeatedly approached the university for updates, but the response remains unclear.
Advocate Mikhail emphasised the plight of students caught in an inefficient system, stating, "It's tragic that a student's life is acutely entrenched in this system, leaving them at the mercy of administrative incompetence. Our duty as students should be focused on studying diligently and giving the required examinations, but instead, we have to battle administrative inefficiency or deal with enormous stress."
A female advocate, who appeared for the LLM examination, through Mumbai University, on condition of anonymity said, “I am already a practicing advocate, the results may come, when it has to, as for a practising advocate, getting an LLM degree is just an additional qualification, and the advocacy work remain unchanged at ground level.”
The other side
While Mumbai University's Department of Law claims to have checked the LLM papers, they are not responsible for result declaration. The reason for the delay remains unknown, as the staff chose not to comment on the matter.
Question papers delayed
In a separate incident, the Mumbai University ATKT (Allowed To Keep Term) examination for Semester V (LLB years) faced delays when examination centers received question papers for the subject "Civil Procedure Code" beyond the scheduled time. College faculties had to make frantic calls to Mumbai University to inform them about the delay. The university's helpline number provided in emails proved to be unresponsive. The issue was only resolved after intervention from A K Singh, the Associated Dean of Law at Mumbai University.
Coordinators from various law colleges expressed frustration over the lack of timely question paper distribution, which caused unnecessary stress for exam centers and students. They believe that such lapses stem from a lack of knowledge and understanding of law as a subject and a third-party attitude from the university, which has outsourced the work.
Dr. U K Nambiar, Principal of MCT Law College in Airoli and one of the cluster heads for law colleges in Navi Mumbai, confirmed the incident and called for the university to address such lapses promptly. He recounted how the provided helpline number was of no use as the back office did not respond to their calls. It was only after bringing the matter to the attention of A K Singh, the Associated Dean of Law, that the issue was resolved and the question papers for the 100-mark paper (old syllabus) were finally sent.
Another coordinator from a different law college criticised the university's response, stating that despite the scheduled exam start time of 10:30 am, they did not receive the question papers even by 9:50 am. When they contacted the university, they were asked to email their concerns and were subjected to a series of questioning before the question paper was finally sent.
The coordinator dismissed the notion of technical glitches, attributing the delay to a lack of knowledge and understanding of law as a subject, as well as an indifferent attitude towards their responsibilities.
While Mumbai University's delays in LLM results and the recent incident with ATKT Law question papers continue to frustrate students and faculty alike, concerns remain about the efficiency and effectiveness of the university's administrative processes.