The court directed the appellate authority of the institute to reconsider the petitioner's appeal challenging the rustication.The court directed the appellate authority of the institute to reconsider the petitioner's appeal challenging the rustication.
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The Bombay High Court has intervened in a case involving a student from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), granting significant relief by overturning the institute’s decision to rusticate her over social media posts allegedly targeting senior officials. The court’s decision, rendered by a division bench of Justices Atul S Chandurkar and Rajesh S Patil, quashed TISS’s rejection of the student’s appeal and mandated a reconsideration by the institute’s appellate authority.

The controversy began when the student, enrolled in a two-year course at TISS, was accused along with her husband of posting content on social media aimed at officials of the institute. Following this, a three-member inquiry committee at TISS recommended her rustication, a decision upheld by the institute’s competent authority.

Challenging this decision, the petitioner approached the high court, which initially advised her to seek redress through available institutional channels. Subsequently, upon reconsideration and the submission of an apology by the petitioner, the court directed TISS to establish an appellate authority to address the appeal in accordance with legal norms.

However, subsequent developments saw the appellate authority expand the scope of its review to include allegations unrelated to the initial appeal, particularly involving a sexual harassment complaint against a senior professor. This expansion, contested by the petitioner’s counsel, led the high court to quash the authority’s decision, emphasizing that it had overstepped its jurisdiction by delving into extraneous matters.

The court’s directive mandates the appellate authority to confine its reconsideration solely to the challenge against rustication, ensuring a fair and impartial review within six months. Importantly, it stipulates that issues concerning the petitioner’s sexual harassment complaint must be separately adjudicated without conflating them with the disciplinary proceedings.

This decision underscores the importance of procedural fairness and adherence to legal boundaries in academic disciplinary matters, ensuring that students are treated fairly and transparently in their pursuit of education.

Stay tuned for updates as the case progresses, reflecting broader implications for institutional governance and student rights at TISS and beyond.

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