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In The Tussle Between Bar Council And DU’s Law Faculty, Students Left Hanging

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By Bipasha Nath:

In 2014, the Bar Council of India revoked its affiliation to the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi as the institution did not file the application for the inspection and affiliation by the BCI, mandatory under the Legal Education Rules of 2008. This meant that the students who passed out from the college in 2014 would be denied enrolment as advocates. According to the rules, when a college applies for renewal of affiliation, the college has to undergo a rigorous inspection after which BCI decides whether the college is fit to function as a law college or not. When the inspection happened at DU Faculty of Law later, its administrative irregularities such as the disproportionate teacher-student ratio, infrastructural problems among others came to the fore. The college was given a one year notice to abide by all of BCI’s rules and was granted temporary affiliation.

This year, things escalated when BCI stood firm on DU complying with its rule regarding the number of seats to be allotted and the shutting down of evening classes. DU had already given admission to 2310 students. According to BCI norms, it could only admit 1440. As a result, admission counselling was delayed. Students who were waiting to be admitted were left hanging by the administration as they had no information as to whether they would get admission or not. As a result, DU Law Faculty’s student community along with the students who were to be admitted started an indefinite hunger strike to appeal to the BCI to revoke their decision about cutting down the number of seats. Finally, on August 21, the Bar Council of India released a notice that allowed Delhi University to enrol 2310 students into Faculty of Law for the Academic Session 2016-2017 and continue to hold evening classes for second and third-year students.

Despite repeated warnings, it was only during this year that the Faculty of Law made some definite plans to change the existing scenario, by promising to lessen the student-teacher ratio and holding classes in the new academic block. According to Stuti Bhandari, a final year student of the college,  inaction on part of the authorities occurred due to frequent changes made to the position of Dean of College because of which concrete decisions could not be made in time to avoid last minute complications in the admission process. The admissions committee, as well as the college faculty, remained unavailable for comment.

Korai Raichand* is a literature graduate who had been preparing for DU Law Faculty’s entrance exam quite extensively and had planned to  pursue law before even starting with his undergraduate programme in Ramjas College. He says, “The syllabus for DU LLB Entrance is no walk in the park. It deals with general knowledge, current affairs, Mathematics, English, Logical and Legal Aptitude. It was hard for me to temporarily sideline sports and photography to prepare for the exam.” Voicing concern over the affiliation, he says, “Students graduating from DU LLB will have a LLB degree but won’t be registered as lawyers. They won’t be allowed to practice law in any court – no institution, be it national or international, will recognise the degree if affiliation is absent.”

The issue was eventually taken up by student political parties such as ABVP and NSUI. The admission fiasco created problems for party members as well because it was necessary to get admission to any college in the University to be eligible for contesting in the elections. Stuti shared how this affected students in the second and third year as well. She told Campus Watch, “Classes had been suspended for both second as well as third-year students and we will have to arrange for extra classes to cover up for the loss.” Many students had a common complaint that classes were not being held in quick succession. There were long gaps between lectures, which made it difficult for students to engage in other activities at a stretch. Starting a new academic session on such an unstable note undoubtedly weighed heavily on the minds of students.

However, there were many who saw the setback as a stepping stone to better times. Neha Mehta*, a final year student, believes that the decision to bring down the number of seats was a great move since they were accommodating too many students, with no infrastructure or faculty to support them. The overall image of Delhi University’s Law Faculty has been declining steadily as they are following a rather redundant system and due to all the ruckus with BCI. Yet, she voices confidence and pride in the quality of lawyers produced by the law school. She feels that even though the current situation is very tricky, the long-term benefits of change will be worth it.

Image Source: Facebook

*Names have been changed.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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