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HC rejects expelled pupil’s plea

The high court on Tuesday declined to take the side of an engineering student expelled from his college on the charge of assaulting other students.

A probe by Guptipara Sarojmohan Institute of Technology in Hooghly had held Raghavendra Pratap Singh and seven other final-year students guilty of beating up three of their classmates.

The other seven apologised, served a month’s suspension and paid a fine of Rs 5,000 each. Raghavendra denied his involvement in the assault, following which the authorities expelled him.

Raghavendra moved the high court and sought an order asking the institution to take him back. While the case was pending, the court allowed him to take a practical test.

On Tuesday, on the eve of the final-year examination, Justice Aniruddha Basu dismissed the petition, saying: “Generally, courts keep in mind the students’ interest and take their misbehaviour leniently. But if the court takes the side of the student in such cases and allows him to continue to study in the same institution, it will send a wrong message.”

“The judge’s comment is important at a time teachers, even principals, are being manhandled by students regularly,” lawyer Rabishankar Chatterjee later said.

According to the college, run by the Techno India group, Raghavendra and the seven other students had on August 30 beaten the three classmates with iron rods, lathis and bricks.

The trio had to be admitted to Kalna Sub-divisional Hospital in Burdwan.

The next day, the management set up a 14-member committee to probe the violence. One of the panel members was a representative of the West Bengal University of Technology, to which all private engineering colleges in the state are affiliated.

The committee filed its report on September 12, holding the eight students guilty of assault.

The seven other students admitted their guilt and apologised and were allowed to continue with the course against a fine of Rs 5,000 each. Raghavendra, however, claimed he was not involved in the assault.

The court in an interim order had asked the college to let the student take the November 27 practical test and be lenient with him.

The final written test is scheduled to start on December 5. So the student came to court on Tuesday to plead for another interim order allowing him to take the test.

But this time the institute opposed the student’s prayer and requested the judge to hear the case in detail before passing any order.

Appearing for the institution, R.N. Majumdar submitted: “If courts allow the students to continue with his study, the college management will be in trouble. The court should not interfere in the management’s decision taken to improve the college environment.” The judge turned down Raghavendra’s plea and rejected his petition.