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Supreme Court allows three options to hundreds of displaced Manipur students

SC says process of students' relocation should be made within two weeks of making their choices to nodal officer appointed by Manipur University in this regard

R. Balaji New Delhi Published 05.12.23, 06:47 AM
Supreme Court.

Supreme Court. File picture

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed three options to hundreds of displaced Manipur students who fled the state in the wake of the recent ethnic clashes — they can attend online classes at the Manipur University itself from different parts of the country or they can pursue their studies either at the Assam University, Silchar, or North East Hill University, Shillong.

The court said the process of relocation of the students should be made within two weeks of making their choices to the nodal officer appointed by the Manipur University in this regard.

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A bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, while granting the three options to the students, also said the apex court-appointed committee headed by former J&K Chief Justice Gita Mittal may examine further alternatives to accommodate the students so that their academic career is not affected on account of the present situation.

When solicitor-general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the court that the students who had fled the state have the option of attending the classes through online mode, the bench also comprising Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra pointed out that the online option was available even to the students in other universities and not just the Manipur University, but wondered whether it was a better alternative to the physical mode.

“I don’t know how it will be if their classes are online, what the quality would be... They will also have a sense of their lives going back to normal if they get into central universities. They’re also fleeing violence. This is a human problem,” Justice Chandrachud orally observed.

When the bench asked the top government law officer to suggest some central universities, Mehta suggested that the students can be accommodated in the two universities — Assam University in Guwahati and North East Hill University in Shillong.

The CJI then agreed with the suggestion and said that the students could be given all three options — online classes at Manipur University and admissions either at Assam University or North East Hill University. The bench further said it would ask the Justice Gita Mittal committee “…to see if a better administrative decision can help…and submit a report to the court in this regard.”

Later the bench, while recording the assurances extended by the solicitor-general and the state advocate-general, stated in its order that the Manipur University has notified a nodal officer. Details of the nodal officer shall be placed on website of Manipur University. Any student desirous of admission to any of these two universities will be at liberty to approach the nodal officer who shall take necessary steps to facilitate the admission and relocation.

The bench said the process of relocation should be carried out in two weeks upon the requests made. Manipur University should make sure that the exercise doesn’t impede students from receiving the degree for their studies.

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