NLSIU students' protest ends following CJI intervention

NLSIU students' protest ends following CJI intervention

Students of the National Law School of India University stage a protest on Monday, demanding the immediate appointment of the vice-chancellor. DH PHOTO/S K Dinesh

Students of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) ended their three-day protest on Monday after the Chief Justice of India said he would intervene to fix a crisis that had thrown the university in chaos.

Students’ unrest over the delay in the appointment of a new vice-chancellor boiled over into open protest on Saturday. They had boycotted the classes as well as the term-end exams scheduled for Monday.

For many, the protest was the last resort against a university administration, which many believed was delaying the process.

The problem began soon after August 4, when, following a lengthy selection process, Professor Sudhir Krishnaswamy, former NLSIU alumni, was formally designated as the university’s next vice-chancellor, upon recommendation from the university’s Executive Council (EC).

However, the appointment was not formalised due to what students described as interference from the university’s registrar Profesor O V Nandimath, whom they accused of having a conflict of interest.

The impasse was broken on Monday afternoon after Gopal Sankaranarayanan, an alumnus and representative of students, met the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi.

The CJI, along with Justice S A Bobde, reportedly released a statement that the subcommittee that selected Krishnaswamy would be notified to formalise the appointment as the new vice-chancellor.

The exams have been rescheduled for Tuesday with the students agreeing to take them. While protests had attracted support from alumni and some professors, the conduct of the students was also seen as an act bringing disrepute to the university.

In a letter to Gogoi on Monday, written under the letterhead of the Bar Council of India, a member of the Executive Council described the students as “unruly elements,” carrying out “acts of misdemeanour and indiscipline, which are bringing down the image of the institution”. The letter by Ved Prakash Sharma described the study body as not being a “stakeholder in the process of the appointment of VC or any faculty member,” and that the Krishnaswamy’s role behind the agitation could not be ruled out.

CJI Gogoi and Justice Bobde of the Supreme Court agreed that students did not have a say in the appointment of the VC. However, they added the student’s response was “mainly due to the conduct of the administration, which had been unhelpful”.

Sources said Professor Nandimath also visited the CJI in Delhi on Monday. 

Siddaramaiah calls for early resolution

Former chief minister Siddaramaiah on Monday sought an early resolution of the crisis at the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), where students are up in arms against the administration on the appointment of a new vice-chancellor.

“NLSIU-Bengaluru is a prestigious institution which has excelled in the field of Public Policy & Law. The ongoing tussle between the Student Bar Association and the administration has to be resolved at the earliest, without violating the due process, in the interest of the institution,” Siddaramaiah, the Congress Legislature Party leader, tweeted.

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