HC stays 60:40 exam pattern for law students

In what may come as a huge relief to thousands of law students, the Bombay High court on Monday, stayed the implementation of the 60:40 exam pattern for the academic year 2018-19, at all law colleges affiliated to the Mumbai University (MU).

A division bench of Justices B.R. Gavai and M.S. Karnik was hearing a bunch of petitions — including a Public Interest Litigation filed by Parthsarthi Saraf, a student of GJ Advani Law college, and Advocate Dipak Chattopadhyay, also a part time professor — urging the court to quash the MU circular dated August 24, 2018, that prescribed the 60:40 exam pattern for law colleges, where 40 marks were to be decided through internal exams provided by respective colleges through projects and assessments, and the remaining 60 marks through written exams also conducted by colleges at the end of every semester. Another petition was filed by two fifth year students of Government Law College, seeking a stay on the implementation of the circular as it was issued in the middle of the semester.

The August 24 circular was followed by another one on September 7 which said that the rule will not apply from this year and the current semester will be held as per the prevailing 100-marks system. However, on September 21, 2018, the varsity issued yet another notice, indefinitely increasing the deadline given to colleges to submit final marks under the 40 mark component for practicals.

Ruling in favour of the students, the Bench said, “students cannot be made subject to a sudden change, it will prejudice them. Hence exams for the academic year 2018-19 shall be conducted as per the prevailing system (the 100 mark end-term written examination).”

The Bench took note of MU’s submission that this sudden change was brought in due to the faulty system that was in place, resulting in delays in declaration of results. However, it said that this cannot be the reason to implement such a scheme in a hasty manner.

The court further added, “nothing is placed on record to say that training was provided to teachers. Due to this, utter disparity exists between different faculties. While we make note of the part-time professors who exist in multiples of the full-time professors, we cannot leave the career of the students at the mercy of teachers who are not aptly trained to do the assessment.”

While dictating the order, the Bench lauded the initiative taken by MU to bring changes to the legal education system, but opposed it’s implementation in the current form.

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