In the case of Sri Hruday vs. The Vice-Chancellor and ors, the High court of Karnataka directed the NLSIU (National Law School of India University) to set aside its orders of not promoting a 3rd-year law student to the next academic year on the alleged claims of plagiarism. The student was awarded an ‘F’ grade by the teacher on the ground that the test was plagiarized. It was submitted that the student was not given adequate opportunity of personal hearing by the University Authorizes. The petitioner is the son of Justice PB Bajanthri a sitting Karnataka High Court Judge.
The Bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit was the opinion that the student should have been given an opportunity of personal hearing. It was also noted during the proceedings that the petitioner was not given an opportunity to appear for the Special Repeat Examination of the third trimester. Since he was not allowed to appear for the repeat exams he was not promoted to the next academic year. The University defending their acts claimed that the petitioner himself had admitted the case of plagiarism through email. The HC after hearing the parties observed that the regulations implemented by the university do not define what plagiarism is and therefore the court opined that this term has to be understood in common parlance. The court agreed to the fact that plagiarism is a very serious matter, but the university could not submit any direct evidence of the plagiarism. The professor did not adhere to the rules of the university where it was mandatory for him to refer the matter in writing to the chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC). The Academic and Examinations Regulations of 2009 were enforced to deal with these sorts of issues and it was noted that the university did not follow the rules prescribed for dealing with cases of plagiarism.
Therefore after careful perusal of the facts and circumstances of the case, the HC lamented on the fact that the petitioner was kept in darkness about the whole issue and was not given any opportunity to put forth his submissions. The court strongly opined that when universities are dealing with the educational careers of young minds like that petitioner; utmost care and responsibility have to be taken and they are not to hide or seek shelter under a leaking umbrella of a poor student stated the court. Thus, the writ of Mandamus issued to the University to assess and award marks to the petitioner’s Project work.