Published: 24th May 2023
DU PhD scholar Lokesh Chugh moves Delhi HC once more against varsity
The student mentions that his PhD thesis remains to be accepted and he then has to appear for an exam
Lokesh Chugh, the PhD scholar from Delhi University (DU) who was debarred from the varsity earlier this year, continues to be encircled with difficulties in continuing his academics. He has filed another plea in the Delhi High Court, which was heard today, May 24.
DU has asked for more time to respond, Chugh informed, stating that he has been waiting to continue his PhD course at the varsity since the HC ordered in his favour in the debarment case. The scholar was debarred for alleged involvement in the screening of India: The Modi Question on campus. He challenged the move, and on April 27, observing that DU's order was taken in violation of the principle of natural justice, the High Court allowed him to continue his studies.
The student, who is also a National Students' Union of India (NSUI) leader, mentions that his PhD thesis remains to be accepted and he then has to appear for an examination. "On April 27 itself, I visited my HoD informing him of the court's order. He said it was not in his hands to do anything. On May 1, I received the physical copy of the court order. The department refused to take it," Lokesh says.
Next, he approached the Dean of Examinations with the judgment copy and a letter on how his PhD can be restarted. The letter was forwarded to the Registrar, who forwarded it to the VC, who in turn, sent it back to the Dean of Examinations, without any progress. "I also had a word with the Proctor, asking her to help me. But she too mentioned that she couldn't do anything. On May 7, I visited the Joint Registrar with DU's Academic Council members," Lokesh said.
In the meeting, though the Joint Registrar admitted to having received the court order and letter, he stated that it was not "actionable", Lokesh adds. On May 9, a certified copy was given to the university along with Chugh's letter. However, the situation remains unchanged.
Frustrated, the scholar moved the Delhi HC again, and the case is pending with Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav, the same judge who had set aside Lokesh's debarment order earlier. In today's hearing, the High Court orally observed that Delhi University should comply with its order.
Advocate Naman Joshi, appearing for the petitioner, added that the conduct of the university has "malafide writ large all over it inasmuch as despite there being no impediment to acceptance of Chugh’s thesis, he is being punished with a pocket veto merely because of his political affiliation with the Indian National Congress."
As per media reports, on April 27, DU VC mentioned that he was going to file a counter-plea on the court's order. Though that didn't happen, Lokesh mentions that the court order was not followed either. "I am a student of DU and I believe in the judicial system. But DU is punishing me for a sin I did not commit," he states.