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Delhi HC: Collect earlier fee, register JNU students

A bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher also issued notices to MHRD and UGC which were impleaded in the matter.

Last Updated: Jan 25, 2020, 08.23 AM IST
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Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) raise slogans during a protest to appeal to students and youth across India to join them for National Protest Day in defence of affordable and accesible education at CP in Delhi.
NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Friday gave relief to protesting students by asking Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University to allow unregistered students to register for the winter semester under the earlier fee structure. Dismissing JNU’s plea that fee hike was necessary to pay salaries of daily wagers and out-sourced staff, Justice Rajiv Shakdher said the government must find funds for paying contractual employees in state-run educational institutions and students cannot be burdened with it.

Additional solicitor general Pinky Anand earlier told the court that the hostel fees were hiked on the University Grants Commission’s direction. The ASG said 90% JNU students had paid increased fee and it would not be fair to allow the remaining 10% to register for the winter semester as per the older hostel manual. However the judge said “if 90% have paid, your financial concerns have been more or less taken care of. You can arrange for the rest of the funds. For now, engage with students. Have a dialogue with them. The burden of paying contractual employees salary cannot be put on students in government-run institutions. You (varsity) need to find the money. Maybe the Ministry of Human Resource Development can find the funds. The government has to fund public education. It cannot get out of it,” Justice Rajiv Shakdher said.

Justice Shakdher issued notices to JNU, the HRD ministry and UGC, seeking their stand on a plea by JNU Students Union against the new hostel manual. The court said students of the reserved category, who come in the remaining 10% can also register as per the old manual and they should get registered within a week. It directed the varsity to not levy late payment charges or penalty on students registering after the court’s order. Appearing for the students union, senior advocate Akhil Sibal told the court since the election of 2018-19, the varsity had stopped engaging with student leaders and their views were being sought “less and less” on issues concerning the students.The JNUSU office-bearers, in their plea filed through advocate Abhik Chimni, have challenged the minutes of the separate meetings held by the Inter Hostel Administration, the Executive Council and a high-level committee to amend and later approve the new manual.The entire process was conducted in a “tearing hurry” by the varsity, which went ahead and implemented the manual mid-term even as students were involved in talks with the HRD Ministry, Sibal told the court.On this, the court said to JNU it should have included the representatives of the students union in its meetings on amending the hostel manual.

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