The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Varsity frowns over college fine

Calcutta University (CU) is contemplating stern action against one of its oldest affiliate colleges in south Calcutta for collecting exorbitant fines from students for inadequate attendance in class.

Preliminary investigations reveal that Jogomaya Devi College charged Rs 500 per student per subject to allow those with attendance below the required percentage to appear in the BA, B.Sc and B.Com examinations conducted by CU.

According to CU officials, the university rules make it compulsory for every under-graduate student to attend a minimum of 75 per cent of the total number of classes in each subject. However, those with attendance between 75 and 60 per cent can also write the examinations, if they pay a fine of Rs 50 to the university.

“Under no circumstances can a student be allowed to appear in the exams if he or she has less than 60 per cent attendance. The decision of the Jogomaya Devi College authorities is unacceptable because no CU affiliate is empowered to charge more than Rs 50 from a student for inadequate attendance. Moreover, such an act will encourage habitual absentees to evade punishment by paying fines,” a CU official said.

The university is considering a strong penal action against the college — even to the extent of de-recognising it — because the decision to charge exorbitant fines also goes against the Left Front government’s education policy, CU officials explained.

“We have received complaints from some students of Jogomaya Devi College who said they had been charged Rs 500 each for not attending the required number of classes. They paid the fine in order to write the university examinations. This is highly irregular on the part of the authorities. We cannot rule out chances of de-affiliating the college if the allegations are found true,” said CU pro-vice-chancellor (academic) Suranjan Das.

On the basis of the students’ complaints, CU’s under-graduate council formed an inquiry committee to find out what exactly had prompted the authorities to charge such an exorbitant amount. The CU team visited the college for the probe on Saturday.

Jogomaya Devi College principal Gargi Nath refused comment on the issue. However, a section of teachers said the decision to fine the students was taken at a meeting of the institution’s academic council. The decision was aimed at enhancing discipline in the college, said a teacher unwilling to be named.

Some guardians of students of the college have also brought the matter to the notice of higher education minister Satyasadhan Chakraborty. On the basis of their complaints, the state higher education department has asked CU to look into the matter.

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