New Delhi, Apr 13 (PTI) The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union today told the Delhi High Court that it is no longer participating in the protest on the issue of compulsory attendance.

The JNUSU claimed that the “lockdown” was misrepresented to the court by a final year PhD student of the varsity, who alleged that he has not been able to attend classes since February due to the ongoing agitation by the students and teachers against the issue of compulsory attendance.

Justice Rekha Palli listed the matter for hearing on May 16.

The students’ union, in an affidavit in response to the PhD student’s petition, claimed that the students and teachers kept up their academic engagement during the “turmoil” in all these months with classes being held in conference rooms, cafeteria’s lawns, parking spaces, dhabas, and JNUSU and JNUTA offices.

“All these classes happened as a mode of protest and our continued belief in ‘study and struggle’. The teachers corrected papers and the students participated in their respective research work…,” it said.

The students’ union said students of all the departments and ideologies protested against the the coercive measures of the administration on their own volition.

The court was hearing a plea filed by Dinesh Ashok (31), a final year PhD student at the Centre for International Legal Studies, School of International Studies.

Since February, the JNUSU and others were protesting outside various centres and schools against the compulsory attendance rule.

The JNUSU claimed that the lockdown was called off and it was no longer participating in it and “the acts of various other parties, including independent students who have no affiliation with the union, ought not to be attributed to it”.

The petitioner student has submitted that the university be directed to take appropriate measures in accordance with the law to ensure that students are not deprived from attending lectures, seminars and other academic activities due to the strike.

The petitioner has also urged the court to exempt the loss of attendance of those unable to attend classes due to non-resolution of the issue between the varsity and the students’ union.

JNU counsel Monika Arora has supported the issues raised by the student, and submitted that around 6,000 students are suffering because of the agitation. She had also contended that around five of the schools have been permanently shut down.

Arora, who was assisted by advocate Kushal Kumar, also produced a picture of the campus and photos of agitating students.

The court had earlier noted that the JNUSU had admitted to being part of the protest. However, the counsel for JNUSU had submitted that other organisations on campus were also behind the protest, and denied locking up buildings and blocking administrative work during the agitation.

The students were protesting against several circulars issued by the JNU administration on measures that will be taken if they are unable to meet the 75 per cent attendance criteria, including stopping of fellowships/scholarships, withdrawal of hostel seats and debarring them from sitting for examinations or registering for the next semester. Prior to this, attendance was not compulsory at the university.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.