Mumbai law college expels fee defaulters from online classes, defies Bar Council’s appeal to be considerate, claim students

For representational purpose only

Prachi Jadhav

Mumbai: Around 30 students at a private law college in Goregoan area of Mumbai were barred from online lectures for over a month for failing to pay the tuition fees, some of the students have alleged. 

The students at Lord’s Universal College of Law have claimed that the college simply cut their access to online lectures after they failed to meet the July 15 deadline to pay Rs. 13,000 as the first installment of fees, refusing to provide any concessions despite the financial hardships faced by students and their parents in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. The alleged action against fee defaulters is in disregard of an explicit directive by the Bar Council of India (BCI), the apex legal education regulator, to continue the education of such students.

“The college authorities told us that unless we pay the fees in installments, we will not be allowed to attend the lectures. It’s been almost a month since we entered the virtual class,” said one of the students at the college.

“I received a text from the college asking me to pay the fees. When I couldn’t make the payment my access to online lectures was shut the very next day,” said another student, adding, “We are not getting help from anyone.”

Screengrab of an e-mail sent by Lord’s Universal College of Law to its students for fee payment

However, Kalpesh Khausankar, one of the administrators at the college, denied any knowledge of students being barred from classes. “We don’t ban students like that. I have to first see if they have really been banned. And they may not have been banned immediately for non-payment of fees,” he said.

In July, some of the students took to Twitter and also wrote a letter to the college as well as the state higher and technical education minister Uday Samant and Aditya Thackeray, chief of Yuva Sena, the youth wing of the ruling Shiv Sena, requesting that they be allowed to pay the fees later. They didn’t receive any response.

Screengrab of an e-mail sent by one of the students requesting for deferment in payment

BCI, on July 27, had issued a circular to address the fee payment issues at law colleges during the Coronavirus crisis. The regulatory body advised that all the centres of legal education should extend a helping hand to students who are having difficulty in paying fees even with the installment concessions and that they should not be excluded from online classes.

“Despite being law students, we have to go through so much trouble. One can’t imagine the predicament of other students,” said another student at the college.

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