The Bombay High Court awarded interim relief to a first-year law student who filed a plea against her expulsion for allegedly smoking cannabis in College Campus. Advocate Mohit Bharadwaj appeared for the petitioner and Advocate Manorama Mohanty appeared for the college authorities. Justice GS Patel heard the petition through video-conferencing via Zoom App.
Mohit Bharadwaj told the Court that the petitioner and her parents were not informed about the reason for expulsion. He argued that there was no clear disclosure of evidence, and claimed his client was also denied an opportunity to be heard. Advocate Manorama Mohanty emphasized, “Even though we are unaware of the exact reason why she was rusticated, they have relied upon social media posts of the student, along with one more student who was rusticated.” She asserted the petitioner was informed and an internal inquiry was conducted before expulsion. Adding that a chance to be heard was given and the petitioner had admitted to it asking for mercy.
Justice Patel questioned the absence of material evidence before the Court. “Were the rusticated students given a hearing? It is a rustication order. This is disastrous for the students. The college ought to have followed some formality while conducting the inquiry“, Justice Patel remarked. The Court noted that without seeing material on other side, it is impossible to resolve this issue. Justice Patel granted ad-interim relief allowing the student to take her internal exams. The Court opined that it is important that some protection is given to petitioner in case she later succeeds in her case. He, however, clarified “This interim order shall continue till the petition is heard when the court opens for normal hearing,” and when it has the opportunity to examine the documents produced by the College to justify its decision.