Editor’s Note: The author of this article wishes to not reveal their name as he/she is currently a student of the college and fears for their grades . That fact alone should suffice to show the system at place in ALSD.
Sushant Rohilla, a 3rd year student of Amity Law School, Delhi (IP) passed away on the 10th of August. He had taken his own life.
I didn’t know Sushant as well as a lot of people. We spoke a couple of times, usually a formal hello in the corridor but, I saw what I’m sure a lot of people did; that Sushant was a bright, meritorious and affable student who knew how to handle responsibility well, whether it was as part of the Organizing Committee of events, or as part of the Debating and Moot societies.
I was shocked at the news of his passing. More so, at the manner of it. But, as the days passed, and as I slowly learnt the probable cause of his passing, I was left empty and hollow at the realization that our college, Amity Law School, Delhi (IP), supposedly one of the best law schools in the country, had finally cost the world a life.
As I learnt from his family and friends, Sushant had allegedly been pressurized and harassed by ALSD’s notorious attendance policies, a policy so stringent and inflexible even in the face of legitimate reasons, that he was being forced to repeat a year all over again. Inflexibility aside, this policy which calls for 75% mandatory attendance barely has any redressal mechanism to speak of.
Sushant’s absence in college was forced by a legitimate foot injury he sustained, an injury which left him unable to go to college daily. Despite the injury, Sushant did what he could and assisted in contributing to the organization of several events. He participated in moots, he won moots and he even mentored a junior team that won a moot of their own.
His dedication to his college was absolute and despite his serious injury, he had won this very college several accolades it should be proud of.
Alas, despite the accolades he brought his college, Sushant was refused an admit card and debarred from writing his final external exams, an action that would have forced him to repeat another year.
One whole year of law school to be repeated, not only because the institution wouldn’t understand and contemplate the gravity and seriousness of the injury Sushant sustained but also because the college somehow failed to understand that Sushant was in fact a model student who was respected by friends and professors alike.
Sushant wasn’t given proper notice, and wasn’t heard properly, an act of cruel irony considering the college is a law school. He tried to appeal the decision but, to no avail. Even a desperate email he sent to the Founder-Chairman of the institution went reply-less.
Our education system is such that it always prioritizes the wrong aspect over another. Memory is appreciated over learning, and attendance is preferred over practical knowledge. By all accounts, Sushant would have made a fine, fine lawyer.
And despite what early media reports seemed to suggest, he was a good student not only academically but, also in terms of extra-curriculars. A bright future was snatched away by the arbitrariness of an attendance policy which has over the years left many other students struggling to complete their degrees.
For the past few days, Sushant isn’t the only troubling case I have heard to come from ALSD. Juniors, seniors and alumni have come out to reflect and highlight the callousness and sheer spitefulness of the ALSD administration.
Many have come forward to tell stories of how they have been harassed throughout their time in college, whether by hijacking their attendance and marks or by humiliating them in front of parents and friends.
As we speak, students of Amity Law School Delhi are agitating for long-belated justice for Sushant. A couple of hundred students are out there in the sun, struggling to make their voice heard while the callous and irresponsible college authorities feign bliss ignorance.
No such institution should be allowed to get away with the loss of one of its student’s life. Sushant would have become a fine lawyer, over and above the wonderful person he already was.
The least we can do, the least I can do is to make sure that no student in our college goes through the harassment and pressure Sushant went through. His was a life that could have been so much more. Let’s hope and pray that justice is done.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.