Gangtok: Support for the four expelled students of Geyzing College continued to grow even as a bench lead by Justice Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari, Chief Justice, Sikkim High Court, began hearing the matter on Monday.
Representing the four suspended students – Pravin Upreti, Praveen Basnett, Nakul Sharma and Loknath Chettri – senior advocate Udai P Sharma submitted the petition before the High Court. It said that the students suffered a loss of education on account of such expulsion.
The court asked whether the decision of the general body on February 10 to have been challenged based on which the order impugned is passed by the Principal. It further asked what are the rules and regulations as referred to in the order impugned.
The counsel was unable to point out the same except saying that he does not have the decision of the General Body and also the Rules. The Court further opined, as prayed by the petitioner Advocate Sharma, time to make appropriate amendment in the Writ Petition along with relevant material.
The next hearing for the matter is scheduled for April 1.
Earlier this month, the students had served a legal notice to Additional Chief Secretary cum Principal Secretary, and Principal of Geyzing College asking to withdraw, rescind or cancel their expulsion order dated February 19, 2021, within seven days, or else, they would file a writ petition in Sikkim High Court for quashing the same.
Also, the state will be held liable for all the cost that may arise, they added.
In February, the four students, along with 35 other students, had staged a protest against the poor infrastructure of the college and sought an appointment with the education minister but they ended up behind bars for allegedly manhandling Education Secretary GP Upafhaya.
Meanwhile, the Education Minister continues to refuse an audience to the students.
Also, the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) termed the students as ‘anti-national’ for supporting the Farmer’s Protest at the Delhi border.
Before the hearing, on March 21, a collective forum by various organisations demanded the revoking of the expulsion order.
Furthermore, the students were denied appearing for exams scheduled from March 23. The forum had also asserted to allow the students to write the examination.
They also questioned the silence of Education Minister Kunga Nima Lepcha in the matter, while urging Chief Minister PS Golay to deliver justice by understanding the root cause of the issue, rather than listening to his supporters.
Sikkim University Students’ Association (SUSA) president Mahesh Rai said this amounted to a violation of the students’ rights. Likewise, Sikkim Progressive Youth Forum’s (SPYF) Rupen Karki said, “Today we are opposing the undemocratic step collectively if tomorrow they are not reinstated immediately, we will take necessary steps collectively.”
He added, “If they are not reinstated, we will take other steps.”
Social activist Sonam Sherpa questioned the authority of the decision taken by the Principal of Geyzing College. Also, he questioned how the expulsion letter from the Principal prohibits them from giving exams. “This we want to ask the higher officials of Sikkim University. Have they written to the College that these students are not allowed to give examination? 35 students were protesting, but to expel only 4 is what kind of justice? It was a collective issue, to expel only four what was the motive of the Government and the Principal?”