| Students set fire to the notice board at the law college. Picture by Biplab Basak
Siliguri, April 27: Jalpaiguri Law College turned into a virtual battlefield today after a circular implied that six students might be expelled for their repeated failures in annual exams.
While a section of students set fire to the notice board around 11.30 am, others ransacked the building, broke doors and windowpanes as well as electrical fittings. However, personnel from Kotwali police station reached the spot within minutes and brought the situation under control. No complaint was lodged and no one arrested till late in the evening.
The notice that triggered the outburst stated that six undergraduates of the LLB course have failed to clear the annual exams more than three times in the past four years.
According to North Bengal University (NBU) norms, those studying for a five-year bachelor’s degree in law are promoted till the fourth year even if they fail in any one of the seven subjects they need to study every year.
“For example, if a student fails in a subject in the first year, he/she would still be promoted to the second year. However, the person has to clear this subject before the final year starts. Of the 28 subjects that are studied over four years, a student is allowed to fail only thrice in any one subject,” a source said.
When the results of all the five years were published in February, it was found that 41 of the 200 students in the college had failed. Of these, 30 were exempted as they had failed for the first or second time and had more chances.
“The remaining 11 students, all of whom had appeared in the fourth year exams, found themselves in a spot as this was their last chance, having already failed thrice before,” said Abhijit Sinha, the Jalpaiguri district president of the Chhatra Parishad.
“We took up the issue as the students’ future was at stake and met the principal, who said a scrutiny of the exam papers at the university level was the last resort,” he added.
The college authorities came out with a revised list yesterday, which announced that five of the 11 students had passed after the scrutiny. “It was clear from the notice that the remaining six would have to leave the college and would not get any degree. This infuriated them and led to the violence,” Sinha said.
The agitated students had first met Abhijit Bhattacharya, the acting principal. Discussions turned to heated exchanges and finally to violence when Bhattacharya expressed his inability to make any commitment.
The principal, Abhijit Deb, could not be contacted.
“We have asked the college authorities to take up the issue with NBU so that a re-assessment of the answer scripts is carried out, or else we will launch an intensive movement,” the Chhatra Parishad president said.
The acting principal later said: “We have passed on the information to the university. It is the principal and the NBU who will take the decision.”