HC sets aside IIMA’s decision of dropping doctoral student

The Gujarat High Court Tuesday set aside the decision of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) of removing a doctoral student from its Fellow Programme in Management (FPM) and directed the institute to promote the student.

Last year, IIMA had decided to remove G V Radhakrishnan, a retired naval officer, from the course in which he enrolled himself for research in Public Systems Group (PSG). Since he had an MBA degree he was permitted to join second year directly. However, his progress was to be evaluated for promoting him to the next years courses.

According to Mukul Sinha, counsel for Radhakrishan, in June 2012, an order was passed by the institute directing him to withdraw from the FPM course. Radhakrishnan appealed to the director as well as chairman of FPM executive committee responsible for evaluation.

In the petition, Radhakrishnan argued that the committee while evaluating violated the FPM regulations since the committee didn't have the required number of votes. While challenging the institute's decision, Radhakrishnan had informed the court that there should be minimum one-third of total voting members of the committee which has 90 members. However, in this case, the decision of his removal was taken by only 19 members.

Justice S R Brahmbhatt passed an order allowing the petition and directing IIMA to promote Radhakrishnan to the third year.

Sinha said, "Normally, the court doesn't interfere with the decisions of academic bodies but in this case the violation of regulations for evaluation had been contravened. The court held that at IIMA, the process of evaluation is to be done under the 11.2 of the FPM regulations and though the regulation may not have statutory flavour, yet it was necessary to follow the regulation scrupulously for all students."

The court also held that the decision of the committee did not have the required number of votes to remove the student.

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