Relief for students as MU withdraws circular changing mode of evaluation for law courses

The University of Mumbai (MU) withdrew its July 5 circular on assignment-based evaluation for end-term law exams.

After the Bar Council of India (BCI) Wednesday informed the Bombay High Court that its June 10 directive to universities and centres for legal education to conduct exams for intermediate and final-year law students will not be applicable with retrospective effect,

The University of Mumbai (MU) withdrew its July 5 circular on assignment-based evaluation for end-term law exams.

The July 5 circular had replaced the results declared by the MU in May last year on the basis of “average marks based on previous semesters”. This comes after the court on July 26 had pulled up the MU and prima facie observed that the university’s decision to withdraw earlier results of law courses was “unjustified”.

A division bench of Justices R D Dhanuka and R I Chagla Wednesday also directed the MU to restore the earlier results and declare them within two weeks along with the results of exams of next classes for which students have appeared before issuance of BCI directive.

The bench was hearing a plea by a final-year student of Government Law College (GLC), Mumbai, who has a learning disability, a physical disability in the left eye and also is a patient under treatment for acute stress.

The petitioner had challenged MU’s July 5 circular declaring results of exams, which were scheduled in the first half of 2020 but could not be conducted due to “unprecedented pandemic and nationwide lockdown, through assignment-based evaluation.

The petitioner, through advocate Srishty Jaura, said that neither the BCI nor the MU is empowered to issue such directions. The plea added that results that were already declared last year could not be announced as cancelled and be substituted by the new method. The July 5 circular, the petitioner said, was “arbitrary and unreasonable”, since students are directed to submit 10 assignments within a short span of 21 days.

On Wednesday, advocate Amit Sale, appearing for BCI, submitted that its press release dated June 10 directing the universities and centres for legal education will not apply with retrospective effect and will be implemented in a prospective manner only, which the Court accepted.

The MU’s counsel stated that in view of BCI’s statement, it had no reservations and objections in withdrawing the July 5 circular.

“The circular stands withdrawn and results on the basis of average marks based on previous semesters and internal marks (will) be restored,” the bench noted.

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