Calcutta High Court: A Single judge bench comprising of Protik Prakash Banerjee, J. while hearing a civil writ petition filed by students of an online course offered by the respondent NUJS, stayed its circular retrospectively canceling online courses offered in association with private parties.

The Court was prima facie of the opinion that such a course of action affecting vital rights of students without any prior notice to them and without even offering the refund of fees paid by them, was arbitrary and not suited to a premier institution such as the respondent. Further, it raised questions on involvement of a private party which had tied up with respondent university for offering online courses observing that such a tie-up would necessarily require permission of University Grants Commission and that the reason for the said tie-up was not clear.

In view of the facts on record, it was opined that online courses for which the students had enrolled prior to issuance of impugned circular should have been completed by the respondent and the circular should have been made applicable prospectively.

Accordingly, the appeal was allowed and operation of circular was stayed to the extent of enrolments made before issuance of circular. It was clarified that the stay would continue for a period of two months after re-opening of the court or till further orders. The matter was directed to be placed before Regular Bench within one week of re-opening of the court after long vacations. [Abhisek Panda v. West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences,2018 SCC OnLine Cal 8137, Order dated 01-11-2018]

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