A Rap on the Wrist for DUTA

A Rap on the Wrist for DUTA
The Delhi High Court on 15th November reprimanded the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA)
for striking work and not holding classes in protest against the implementation of the semester system.
The court directive comes after a large portion of the academic year being interrupted by recurring
strikes and demonstrations.
The Division bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, “Education cannot be thrown into the
ocean by these teachers, who are taking the law into their hands by going on strike. The rule of law
has to prevail and teachers are bound to follow the instructions of the University administration”,
while directing teachers to return to their classes and conduct classes in accordance with the semester
system. The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by Professor M R Gupta against the
teachers who had been on an indefinite strike since October 25th. DUTA was a respondent in this
particular PIL.
Even though this is an interim order, members of DUTA expressed their dismay at the court’s orders.
Said Ms Ujjaini, “We are definitely disappointed since the court has failed to recognize our motive. We
have been against the Semester System for two reasons. The first was the fact that it would lead to the
dilution of the academic standards and its implementation is seen as a ruling out of skilled technicians
from India’s premier league universities.”
The High court also put on hold the semester exams which were scheduled to begin on the 6th of
December, in light of long strikes and the controversial issues concerning the new system. This
prolonged the uncertainty shrouding the exams and prompted confusion among the students of several
colleges. As late as Saturday, reports of some colleges holding exams in January, while others continuing
with the December schedule kept trickling in. A clearer picture will emerge after the University sends
all colleges a communiqué in the matter. Internal exams are likely to be postponed by at least a week, if
not more.
As far as the allegations of procedural and legal violations in the implementation of the system are
concerned, the High Court adjourned the matter till the next hearing which is to be held on the 13th of
December. A member of DUTA, who did not wish to be named said, “DUTA will file their complaints
regarding the violations of law and procedure by the administration in the semester system before the
next hearing. As far as future course of action goes, there are two things that need to be done. Outside
the court, we will continue to spread awareness and sensitize all the stakeholders about our stand
against the semester system. Inside the court, the legal recourse that DUTA now plans to take has not
been decided. We are consulting our lawyers in the matter and can take any action necessary, whether
it is approaching the Supreme Court or filing a separate plea in the High Court itself.”
In the meanwhile, some teachers also expressed their dissatisfaction with the recent events. Said
Mukul Manglik of the History Department of Ramjas College, “In the last 6 months, the University has
gone to court over an academic issue. This is a most disturbing trend. For the University to support a
PIL lodged by an outsider is equally unsettling. An issue that affects the intellectual and academic life
of the University should be resolved within the University itself. A University is a place for debate and
discussion and the semester issue should be resolved in a similar manner. The lack of discussion sets a
dangerous precedent for the University, and for the society at large.”
-Surabhi Mall
surabhi@dubeat.com
Devika Dutt
devikad@dubeat.com

The Delhi High Court on 15th November reprimanded the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA)

for striking work and not holding classes in protest against the implementation of the semester system.

The court directive comes after a large portion of the academic year being interrupted by recurring

strikes and demonstrations.

The Division bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, “Education cannot be thrown into the

ocean by these teachers, who are taking the law into their hands by going on strike. The rule of law

has to prevail and teachers are bound to follow the instructions of the University administration”,

while directing teachers to return to their classes and conduct classes in accordance with the semester

system. The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by Professor M R Gupta against the

teachers who had been on an indefinite strike since October 25th. DUTA was a respondent in this

particular PIL.

Even though this is an interim order, members of DUTA expressed their dismay at the court’s orders.

Said Ms Ujjaini, “We are definitely disappointed since the court has failed to recognize our motive. We

have been against the Semester System for two reasons. The first was the fact that it would lead to the

dilution of the academic standards and its implementation is seen as a ruling out of skilled technicians

from India’s premier league universities.”

The High court also put on hold the semester exams which were scheduled to begin on the 6th of

December, in light of long strikes and the controversial issues concerning the new system. This

prolonged the uncertainty shrouding the exams and prompted confusion among the students of several

colleges. As late as Saturday, reports of some colleges holding exams in January, while others continuing

with the December schedule kept trickling in. A clearer picture will emerge after the University sends

all colleges a communiqué in the matter. Internal exams are likely to be postponed by at least a week, if

not more.

As far as the allegations of procedural and legal violations in the implementation of the system are

concerned, the High Court adjourned the matter till the next hearing which is to be held on the 13th of

December. A member of DUTA, who did not wish to be named said, “DUTA will file their complaints

regarding the violations of law and procedure by the administration in the semester system before the

next hearing. As far as future course of action goes, there are two things that need to be done. Outside

the court, we will continue to spread awareness and sensitize all the stakeholders about our stand

against the semester system. Inside the court, the legal recourse that DUTA now plans to take has not

been decided. We are consulting our lawyers in the matter and can take any action necessary, whether

it is approaching the Supreme Court or filing a separate plea in the High Court itself.”

In the meanwhile, some teachers also expressed their dissatisfaction with the recent events. Said

Mukul Manglik of the History Department of Ramjas College, “In the last 6 months, the University has

gone to court over an academic issue. This is a most disturbing trend. For the University to support a

PIL lodged by an outsider is equally unsettling. An issue that affects the intellectual and academic life

of the University should be resolved within the University itself. A University is a place for debate and

discussion and the semester issue should be resolved in a similar manner. The lack of discussion sets a

dangerous precedent for the University, and for the society at large.”

-Surabhi Mall

surabhi@dubeat.com

Devika Dutt

devikad@dubeat.com




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