Mumbai: Bombay High Court Denies Urgent Hearing To TISS Scholar Ramadas Prini Suspended for Misconduct

Mumbai: Bombay High Court Denies Urgent Hearing To TISS Scholar Ramadas Prini Suspended for Misconduct

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, 10:56 PM IST
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Mumbai: Bombay High Court Denies Urgent Hearing To TISS Scholar Ramadas Prini Suspended for Misconduct | FPJ

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday refused to grant an urgent hearing on a plea filed by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) research scholar Ramadas Prini Sivanandan, who was suspended from the institute for allegedly violating its discipline codes, 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. The HC was hearing a petition filed by Ramadas, a PhD student from the School of Development Studies of TISS, challenging the order passed by the institute on April 18 suspending him for two years.

Seeking an urgent hearing, his counsel Mihir Desai argued that since Ramadas was suspended, his scholarship was stopped. Hence he is facing difficulties, Desai said. However, the institute filed an affidavit stating that the petition was not maintainable as Ramadas has an alternate remedy. Its advocate said that he could challenge the institute’s order before the Vice Chancellor.

The bench refused to hear the matter urgently and said that detailed arguments would have to be heard on the issue of maintainability. 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 within the institute was constituted to deal with issues of misconduct and disciplinary action of students.

It claimed that the remedy against any decision by the committee is to file an appeal before the vice-chancellor of the institute. Hence, Ramadas could not have come to the HC directly. After Ramadas was suspended on April 18, the institute received letters from certain political parties and organisations, and there was a campaign on social media against the institution.

“This shows that the petitioner (Ramadas) 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,” the affidavit read.

The institute emphasised that when students secure admission to TISS, they are made aware of their duties and obligations and certain “do's and don'ts”, breach of which would render the student liable for penal consequences/disciplinary action.

Additional affidavit filed by Ramadas through advocate Desai claimed he might not get any independent hearing from the institute. He even denied using any political links against the institute. The fact that many fellow students and organisations are supporting him shows that the suspension order was wrong, Ramadas has 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, and accordingly, the High Court alone has jurisdiction to set aside the same,” the Ramadas’ affidavit added.

Ramadas has sought setting aside of his suspension order and restoration of his entitlements as a student. He said he was “unlawfully, arbitrarily and unfairly suspended by the institute”. The institute accused Ramadas of violating its discipline codes, engaging in 'anti-national' activities and for his 'history' of organising unauthorised events.

The institute, in particular, cited his participation and 'misuse' of TISS's name at a protest rally in Delhi, urging students to participate in a screening of 'Ram ke Naam' documentary about demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya and the screening of BBC's documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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