Two BITS Pilani students directed to take up community service for stealing pens, chips at conference

The decision comes as a relief for the students as previously, they were debarred from appearing for their semester exams
Source: Quora
Source: Quora

Two engineering students from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani, Goa campus, were given relief from strict action taken against them for stealing potato chips, chocolates, and pens during a conference. The students who were debarred from appearing for their semester examination were given community service for two hours daily for two months, as per PTI reports.

The bench comprising Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyay and Justice MS Sonak on Monday, January 15 set aside the college's decision and instead asked the two students aged 18 to perform community service for two hours every day at an old-age home in Goa for two months.

The crime committed
Five students of BITS Pilani, Goa Campus, including the two petitioners allegedly stole potato chips, chocolates, sanitisers, pens, notepads, cell phone stands, two desk lamps, and three Bluetooth speakers from the stalls during a conference on the college campus in November 2023.

The students after being caught had claimed that they were unaware of the items and thought that they were abandoned. As per the case papers, the students returned the items and apologised in writing for their conduct.

Stricter punishment
A standing panel of the institute had debarred all five students from registration for three semesters while imposing a fine of Rs 50,000 on each of them. The students later challenged the decision before the director of the institution who revoked the cancellation of semesters for three students but maintained levying the fine imposed.

However, in the case of two other students, the director maintained the Rs 50,000 fine and said they wouldn't be allowed to take exams during semester one (2023-24). The students then were compelled to approach the high court.

The court had delayed the hearing of the order as it had given the director a chance to reconsider his decision given the nature of the crime and the punishment was not justified, but that did not happen and the court had to interfere, reported PTI.

The high court judges in the order reprimanded the director's decision and said, "We are mindful that the two petitioners before us have to complete their education with the respondents for the next few years and not be scarred for life due to indiscretion or even indiscipline indulged by them on this one occasion."

Finally, the court passed its decision to fine the students with additional community service for two hours each day for two months at an old-age home near their institute at Majorda village in South Goa. 

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