Saturday, September 22, 2018

GNLU’s smoking penalty SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY reaches HC


A row over drinking alcohol and smoking on the Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) campus reached the Gujarat high court, after two girls, who were allegedly found drinking and smoking, were suspended indefinitely. One student packed her bags and left for home, while the other, who is from Jaipur and is in the first semester of a Social Service LLB, rushed to the HC against her indefinite suspension. She has questioned GNLU’s decision and accused the authorities of targeting her by imposing a stricter than merited punishment. 

Due to the indefinite suspension, the girl was to miss her exams. She sought the HC’s intervention so she could take the test while the inquiry against her is pending. She also alleged that the university authorities coerced her to admit to the charges of drinking and smoking. She claimed that a liquor bottle was found in her friend’s room in the hostel on September 8 and she happened to be present in the room. She was not drunk, and the university did not report a violation of prohibition laws to the police. Four days later, officials raided her room and found an empty cigarette packet. She was charged with smoking on campus and handed an indefinite suspension. 

The girl has termed the punishment harsh. Regulation No.43 of the GNLU Academic and Other Matters Regulations prohibits smoking or keeping tobacco on campus. A first-time offender is punished with social service or a week’s suspension or Rs 2,500 fine. 

A second-time offender gets a 15-day ouster from the hostel and week-long suspension from academic activities. 

The punishment increases to suspension for a semester when a student is caught for the third time. The student argued that instead of a smaller punishment, she was suspended for an indefinite period. This will not only spoil her studies but remain a stigma during her five-year stay at the university. The university maintained that it cannot relax the punishment because it would jeopardize discipline on the campus. The university, however, assured the HC and the student, that if she is exonerated in the inquiry, she will be allowed to take the tests separately and will not be at any academic loss. The HC directed GNLU to complete its inquiry against the student in two weeks and report back to the court on October 1. Meanwhile, the student has been put up in the university guest house with her parents, as she had to vacate her hostel room.

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