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After days of wrangling, the verdict from the High Court of Karnataka was bitter sweet. The HC ordered a 'onetime' special exam for first and second year Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU)-affiliated engineering college students.
In effect, this means students who carry over more than four subjects in the first two semesters can sit for these exams and progress to the third semester, provided they pass. The verdict text ends to first year students who did not file petitions in the HC. VTU was also directed to announce the exams within one week. However, the court refused to extend this 'make-up' exam facility hitherto available only to students of autonomous colleges under VTU to students hoping to progress to the fifth, seventh and ninth semesters. The court felt these students were too late. Justice Ram Mohan Reddy also came down strongly on VTU for framing different rules for autonomous colleges and other colleges and remarked that the carry over system is against the concept of excellence in education. The HC had earlier permitted a batch of 100 students to be admitted to the third and fifth semester though they did not fulfil the criteria of passing the minimum number of subjects in previous semesters. This order was challenged by VTU. The advocate for VTU argued that students who joined the engineering course knew the rules and autonomous colleges had a separate set of guidelines which was also approved by the university. The counsel claimed that this was because autonomous colleges have to maintain a very high standard. The court then came down heavily on VTU and the carry over system. Justice Reddy remarked, "We do not have Ramans or Ramanujams any more. Cut out these freebies like carry over and you will find new Ramans and Ramanujams. Do some self introspection. If I do not give carry over or supplementary exams there will be more crime and Commissioner Mirji will have more work to do. Oxford and Harvard universities are not dime a dozen because they know that there are not enough good faculty. But you open so many colleges without any faculty. Those colleges attract the cream of students and they become Nobel laureates. With carry over, we will never have even one in our wildest dreams." CARRY OVER AGAINST EXCELLENCE The court said that if the objective of the university was excellence in education, the carry over system was against it."We are plagued by this problem because of the inefficiency of VTU. What for is excellence when we accept carries over system Students think that everything and anything will do. This is a misconception. There should be no carry over system. I would gladly annul it." However, since this question was not in the purview of the petition and the autonomous colleges were not parties, the court said it would be left for any one to challenge it in a separate case. However he said, "We will have to put an end to all this. The Supreme Court has said don't allow it. What happens to regular students who have passed and are already studying in the third semester You give the failed students attendance and exams. If they fail keep them in the same class. Carry over system is bad. Students will sit and study only when it is not permitted." PROBLEM OF FRESH EXAMS The VTU counsel revealed that conducting fresh exams will take at least three months as there are more than 1,300 subjects. The counsel for the students also could not make up his mind when the court asked if he wanted the special rules for autonomous colleges scrapped or whether he wanted the same rules to apply for other colleges as well. The judge said, "I know it is a double-edgeds word. If you want easy regulations you should have gone to Andhra Pradesh, Kerala or Tamil Nadu. Why did you join VTU colleges Did you not know that you will fail in all the exams You did not go to autonomous colleges because you did not want to and you would not have got a seat anyway." In the end however, the judge said that in the interest of thousands of students he would permit a fresh exam. But this relief was only for students denied admission to the third semester. The court said that the' diarchy' of two sets of rules will continue unless someone challenges it.
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