TIMES OF INDIA
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has suggested that Delhi University and Bar Council of India frame rules allowing relaxation of attendance norms for students missing classes due to pregnancy. Reminding the two institutions that ‘‘society today is changing at a rapid pace and we must be in tune with the realities’’, the court on Monday admitted the petitions of two Law Faculty students who were short of attendance because of pregnancy.
The court went a step ahead and said that pregnancies of single women should also be treated sympathetically by educational institutions as far as attendance is concerned. ‘‘The Supreme Court has given liberty to live-in relationships and it has held that pre-marital sex isn’t an offence,’’ Justice Kailash Gambhir observed while admitting the two petitions through lawyer R K Saini.
The students, both married, claimed that DU had ignored their plea that the shortfall in their attendance was because of the advanced stage of their pregnancies. HC ‘‘suggested’’ to the Bar Council of India (BCI) — the body that regulates legal education in the country — that it frame rules for pregnant LLB students allowing them relaxation in attendance.
‘‘If any woman candidate is deprived or detained in any of the semesters just on the ground that she could not attend classes being in advanced stage of pregnancy or due to delivery, such an act would not only be completely in negation of the conscience of the Constitution but also of women’s rights and gender equality this nation has long been striving for,’’ the court noted, dismissing the arguments of the university.
At the same time, the court dismissed a batch of petitions filed by other LLB students seeking a direction to DU to declare their results which were withheld because they had failed to meet the 66% attendance criterion. The judge remarked, ‘‘It is high time law students understand that there is no royal road to education and education teaches only those in attendance.