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JNU withdraws new disciplinary rules that imposed fines up to Rs 50,000 for violence, abuse, dharna on campus

The JNU had announced the ‘Rules of Discipline and proper conduct of students of JNU’ on 28 February, which stipulated various punishments for students for various acts like violence, forgery, protests etc.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University has withdrawn the disciplinary rules that it had introduced recently imposing fine of upto Rs 50,000 on students for physical violence, abuse and holding dharna on campus. The JNU had announced the ‘Rules of Discipline and proper conduct of students of JNU’ on 28 February, saying that it will come into force from 3 March.

But on 2 March, JNU chief proctor Rajnish Kumar Mishra issued a notification announcing that the notification dated 28.2.2023 has been withdrawn on the directions of the vice-chancellor. The notification said that the ‘Rules of Discipline and proper conduct of students of JNU’ has been withdrawn in view of administrative reasons.

The rules had stipulated various punishments for students for various acts like violence, forgery, protests etc. It had said that the rules have been introduced to regulate and enforce discipline among students and employees of the University and to take such disciplinary measures in this regard as may be deemed necessary.

The rules were to be applicable for any breach of discipline and conduct committed by a student inside or outside the JNU Campus. The rules had specified various such violations under different categories, and the punishment for those offences ranged from fines of Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000, rustication and cancellation of admission.

According to the 10-page rules which have been withdrawn now, fine for wrongful confinement of any member of the faculty, staff, student or anyone camping inside the campus, and any physical violence, abuse, manhandling etc would have been punished by a fine of Rs 50,000.

The fine for any act of moral turpitude, gambling, disruptions was set at Rs 20,000, while the fine for forgery, tampering documents, improper behaviour during tours and use of abusive, defamatory, derogatory or intimidatory language was to be punished with a fine of Rs 10,000.

Unauthorised occupation of hostel room, use of university property or accommodating unauthorised persons in hostel would have caused ban in entry, while repeat offences would have caused rustication for minimum one semester.

The rules mentioned that it had been approved by the Executive Council, the highest decision-making body of the university, in accordance to powers vested as per statute 32(5) of the statutes of the university.

However, Executive Council members had told the media that it was not discussed, and was only brought as an additional agenda item. They said that the rules were presented in the council saying that it has been prepared for ‘court matters’.

Even Vice Chancellor Santishree D Pandit said that she was not aware of the development, and that is why it was withdrawn. “I was not aware of such circular. I am in Hubli for some international conference. The chief proctor did not consult me before releasing the document. I was not aware that such document is being drafted. I got to know about the document through newspapers. That is why, I have withdrawn it,” the VC told PTI.

The rules had triggered outrage among students, who termed it draconian and authoritarian. Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s JNU secretary Vikas Patel had demanded a rollback of the rules.

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