Bombay HC Denies Urgent Hearing To PhD Student Suspended By TISS

Bombay HC Denies Urgent Hearing To PhD Student Suspended By TISS

The vacation bench of Justices Arif Doctor and Somasekhar Sundaresan noted that there was no urgency in the plea and kept it for hearing on June 18.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, May 21, 2024, 11:30 PM IST
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TISS CAMPUS | tiss.edu

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday refused to grant an urgent hearing on a plea filed by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) PhD student Ramadas Prini Sivanandan, who has been suspended for two years for allegedly violating discipline codes and engaging in 'anti-national' activities. The vacation bench of Justices Arif Doctor and Somasekhar Sundaresan noted that there was no urgency in the plea and kept it for hearing on June 18.

Seeking an urgent hearing, his counsel Mihir Desai argued that since Sivanandan was suspended, his scholarship was stopped hence he is facing difficulties. However, the institute filed an affidavit, stating that the petition was not maintainable as Sivanandan has an alternate remedy.

The TISS has contended in its affidavit that considering the increasing number of serious misconducts by students, a high-level common committee, comprising officials in senior posts, was constituted to deal with such issues. It claimed that the remedy against any decision by the committee is to file an appeal before the vice-chancellor of the institute. Hence, Sivanandan could not have come to the HC directly.

Asserting that the student has a “history” of organising unauthorised events, TISS cited his participation and “misuse” of the institute's name at a protest rally in Delhi. He urged students to participate in a screening of 'Ram ke Naam' documentary about Babri demolition and the screening of BBC's documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleged the institute.

After he was suspended on April 18, TISS received letters from certain political parties and organisations and there was a campaign on social media against the institution, said the affidavit. “This shows that the petitioner is using his influence and strong political links to pressurise the institute to succumb to the illegal demand of the petitioner. Hence, no leniency is required to be shown,” it added. The institute emphasised that when students secure admission, they are made aware of certain do's and don'ts; breach of which would render them liable for penal consequences/disciplinary action.

Additional affidavit filed by Sivanandan claimed that he might not get any independent hearing from the institute. He even denied using any political links. The fact that many fellow students and organisations are supporting him shows that the suspension order is wrong, he claimed. “The entire disciplinary proceedings have been held in an arbitrary fashion, in violation of principles of natural justice and the fundamental rights of the petitioner. Accordingly, the HC alone has jurisdiction to set aside the same,” Sivanandan said.

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