SC orders Jinnah University for Women to issue BA degrees
The Karachi registry of the Supreme Court has directed the Jinnah University for Women to issue BA degrees to students who have passed four semesters at the educational institution.
The order came on a petition of students against the university administration for not issuing them their BA degrees. Maham Khan and other applicants said they studied at the Jinnah University for Women and completed four semesters, which was equivalent to a BA Pass degree.
They said they were being harassed by the university administration by refusing them BA Pass degrees, even though they had completed four semesters and were issued with marks sheets for all of them.
They also said their marks sheets confirm that they had qualified for BA Pass degrees in mass communication and their GPA was over 2.2, which was the minimum required criterion fixed by the university administration.
The petitioners said the refusal of the Jinnah University for Women to issue them BA Pass degrees was beyond the approach of a prudent mind, adding that the university administration was violating the Jinnah University for Women Act 1998, particularly Section 5(ii) of the Act, and its own code.
They said the university’s Rule 26 stated that students registered for a three-year BA/BSc Honours degree or a four-year BS degree will be able to get their degrees, converted into BA/BSc Pass degrees, after the completion of all courses of the first and second years.
Alternatively, students enrolled in a four-year programme will be able to get their degrees, converted into BA/BSc/BCom Honours degrees, after the successful completion of all courses of the first, second and third years, they added. They requested that the court direct the Jinnah University for Women to issue BA and BSc degrees to all students who had passed the requisite four semesters with more than 2.2 GPA in the larger interest of justice and equity.
The university’s counsel, Syed Mohammad Abbas, said the rule was only for those students who had succeeded in clearing the first two years in one go without failing in any of the four semesters, adding that a student who failed in even one semester was ineligible.
A three-member SC bench headed by CJP Justice Mian Saqib Nisar observed in its recently issued judgment that in terms of the rule, the university did not have the authority to deny BA/BSc Pass degrees to students who intended to quit the bachelors programme after two years after completing the requisite number of semesters, albeit on a second attempt.
The court said that admittedly, the university itself provided the opportunity to students who failed to clear a semester to retake it and/or the requisite examinations.
The bench rejected the submission of the university’s counsel that though the applicants had passed all the four semesters, even though not all in one go, they would not be provided with degrees, but only marks sheets and certificates.
The court said the submission of the university’s counsel was an unreasonable interpretation of Rule 26 that imposed harsh conditions on the students, adding that in such circumstances their two years would go to waste and they might suffer an irreversible setback in their educational careers if they were denied their degrees.
The bench observed that the university’s interpretation and application of its own rule could not be sustained, and then directed the Jinnah University for Women to issue the applicants their BA/BSc Pass degrees within 10 days because their case fell within the scope of Rule 26 and no impediment existed in the issuance of their degrees. The court warned the university that any attempt to create hurdles in issuing the degrees or to delay, frustrate or defeat the order would be dealt with strictly in accordance with the law.
The court also imposed on the university a cost of Rs20,000 that is to be deposited to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to be used in such beneficial or benevolent funds as the HEC may deem appropriate.