A section of students at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has claimed that the administration has imposed thousands of rupees fines on them for participating in protests and “banned” them from registering for the next semester. The amount of fine varies from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000, the students claimed and accused the administration of “harassment”. However, JNU chief proctor Rajnish Kumar Mishra has denied the allegations, saying the actions are taken after following due procedure. Among the students, who have got notices, are student activists — former JNU Sudents Union (JNUSU) vice president and PhD scholar Simone Zoya Khan and Kaushik Raj.
Kaushik has been served notice for the 2018 protest in which, he claims, he did not even present. As per the notice dated August 29, Kaushik has been directed to submit Rs 10,000 by September 5 “in any case”. “…He is therefore directed to deposit the amount of Rs 10,000. Otherwise, he may not be allowed to register during the coming semester until he gets clearance from the office,” the notice signed by the chief proctor read. Speaking to PTI, Kaushik, who is in his final year of PhD, alleged that the fine imposed on him is erroneous as he was not present during the protest in 2018 where several students gathered in a seminar room against compulsory attendance.
Kaushik fears that he will not be allowed registration for the new semester and all his hard work will go waste. “I was not present during the protest. Even during the proctorial enquiry, I made the oral and written deposition that I was not present. Still I am being fined. I know five-six more students who have received a similar notice,” Kaushik said.
Simone Zoya Khan, who is also in the last year of her PhD, said that the university is targeting student activists for organising demonstrations. Simone has also been served notice for the same 2018 protest. She was then JNUSU vice president. Simone said she could not take the risk and arranged the fine money as she has to submit her thesis this year. “It is not fair. The university is targeting the students. Dozens of false and unfounded complaints are brought against students. The yearly fee at the varsity is Rs 200-300 and they are levying a fine of Rs 15,000. How is this fair?” Simone asked. In a statement, All India Students’ Association said that the action by the JNU proctor office is politically motivated.
The student organisation has accused the administration of targeting students from marginalised backgrounds with heavy fines. Chief proctor Mishra said that the imposition of fine is not a new thing and all the actions are taken after following due procedure. “We are not stopping students from taking admission. This is a regular procedure based on several proctorial enquiries. It is not a new thing,” Mishra told .