Bombay High Court Hears Petition Challenging Suspension of Dalit PhD candidate from TISS

Mainstream
13-May-2024
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The Bombay High Court recently heard a petition filed by Ramadas KS, a Dalit doctoral candidate from Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), challenging his suspension for two years due to alleged repetitive misconduct and 'anti-national activities'. Ramadas, a member of the Students Federation of India (SFI), approached the Court seeking revocation of his suspension.

A division bench of Justices AS Chandurkar and Jitendra Jain heard the petition on May 10. During the hearing, the Court suggested that Ramadas explore the alternative remedy of approaching the Empowering Committee of the university with the suspension order findings. However, Ramadas's advocate, Lara Jesani, contested this suggestion by referring to the Student Handbook 2023-2024.

In response, the Court directed TISS to file a short affidavit indicating the alternative remedy available to the petitioner. The matter was adjourned for further hearing on May 21.

Ramadas's plea argued that the suspension order was based on a report of an Empowered Committee, which allegedly failed to consider his explanations. TISS justified the suspension by stating that Ramadas's activities were 'not in the interest of the nation' and cited instances such as his participation in a protest in Delhi in January 2024 under the Progressive Students Forum (PSF)-TISS banner.

Challenging the suspension order, Ramadas relied on the Constitution of India and the guidelines of the University Grants Commission (UGC), asserting students' freedom to form associations and express views in a democratic country. He argued that TISS infringed upon his rights by leveling false charges against him and sought restoration of his entitlements as a student.

Advocates Lara Jesani and Rishika Agarwal appeared for Ramadas, while advocates Rajeev Panday and Ashish Kanojia briefed by PRS Legal represented TISS. Additionally, Advocate Rui Rodrigues appeared for the University Grants Commission, and Advocate Shilpa Kaptil was also involved in the proceedings.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News writer, MIT ADT University