A Brief Summary of the Proposed Exam Amendment Rules
This article has been written by Megha Mehta and Radhika Goyal (Batch of 2019).
There are stupid rules and then there are Law School Exam Rules. Going to the Exam Department and reasoning with them is surely one of the most traumatic experiences a Law School student has to face. However, we have the capability of changing this. The Academic Council meetings are less than a month away and the SBA has called for an open meeting to discuss proposed amendments to the exam rules. It is extremely important that everyone turns up for the meeting informed, because these proposed amendments, dealing with matters of attendance, exemptions, carries, marks, repeat exams, seminar courses, etc, have the potential to affect every single one of us.
We understand that you might be too busy to read the document sent by the SBA in detail which is why we have prepared a concise summary with pros and cons of the proposed amendments to enable you to understand them and their consequences. This is so that you can make an informed choice with regard to whether you want these changes or not, and propose suggestions if any. It is our earnest request that you go through this document and turn up for the open meeting. Let’s stop the trending of #InstitutionalApathy and #ChaltaHai on the Law School feed.
We’ll deal with the good news first: (Assuming the proposals get passed…)
- Attendance requirements will be reduced from 75% to 70% in consonance with the BCI rules. (Which means you get an extra weekend at Gokarna.) Further, in accordance with the reduced attendance requirements, you will be able to miss up to 8 hours without losing 1 mark (90% attendance = 5 marks. 89%-85%-4 marks, and so on).
- Students with an attendance shortage in a subject only have to attend the number of hours required to reach the 70% criteria (e.g. Assuming that the minimum attendance requirement for a course is 40 hours and you attended only 36 hours. Instead of having to sit for 40 hours of the same torture next year, you will only have to compensate for the 4 hours you missed out on).
- Students will have an option to submit a short assignment of 5 marks in lieu of their total attendance. This means you only have to attend up to 70% of the classes and you can still get upto 5 marks on the basis of your assignment. (Caveat: You need to choose the courses you want to make an assignment for within the first week of the trimester. This will be a problem for instance if you have new professors.)
- Medical Make-up will now be accepted (Caveat: Go through page 4 of the document for the detailed procedural requirements needed to avail the same).
- You will now be eligible to get condonation above 65% on extra-curricular and exceptional grounds over and above the current medical condonation.
- You will now be able to submit your project in soft copy till 11:59 pm on the submission date, thus eliminating the need to run like Aishwarya Rai in Devdas at 5 pm. Also we save the planet! (Caveat: If your course teacher requires a hard-copy submission by 5 pm they can specially ask for the same. Don’t give up on your running skills yet).
- You can get an extension for an event which is held 6 days before or after a project submission date. Events now include all competitions outside campus, such as moots, debates etc.
- The next time your moot-mate goes missing, you will be able to get them show-caused and ensure that they don’t get to avail of an exemption (One more thing to put on your Has Anybody Seen My Moot-Mate FB status).
- Your CR’s will finally get a say in those horrible examination time-tables.
- You will be able to get your projects re-evaluated in case you receive less than 17 marks out of 35 marks.
- You will be able to take an FA if your competition falls within 3 days (for negotiation or client counseling competitions) or 6 days (for moot court competitions) within the commencement or the conclusion of your mid-terms or end-terms or repeat exams. The UGC will also have the discretion to grant an FA if the clash is more than 3 or 6 days respectively.
Now for the ones we aren’t too sure about (Once again assuming they get passed…)
- Attendance carries will be counted with subject caries for the purposes of getting a year loss. Right now if I have 3 subject carries and 1 attendance shortage I am still not going to get a year loss, but this will potentially change for the worse if the proposed amendment is passed. In the current scenario, getting two attendance shortages does not usually mean a year loss (despite what the rules say).
- The amended rules propose to introduce an abstract submission of 500 words for all subjects within the first four weeks, on which a “preliminary presentation” of 8 marks will be conducted (assuming attendance marks are scrapped altogether). Final viva marks will be conducted for 12 marks which means that 20 marks will be in the hands of the concerned course professor (who probably hates you). Alternative opinion: This might just incentivize people to start preliminary research for their projects well in advance.
- Students will be able to submit projects within 9 weeks from the commencement of the trimester (for III, IV, V years) and within 3 weeks from the mid-term examinations (for I and II years). This obviously makes the project submission schedule very flexible. You can manage your project submissions and other activities as per your convenience. However, here are some practical concerns: For many students, there might be no incentive to complete or submit projects before the final week, similar to what happens with studying for exams when end-terms are suddenly introduced. While we may think that we will be able to submit it within good time, the lack of a deadline can take away from the sense of urgency that incentivizes project writing. Especially for first year students, not having a specific time-line may deprive them of the opportunity to learn how to manage their time. Further this will create scheduling problems for teachers, as well as for students who might potentially have to attend 4 vivas in the last week before end terms. While this might already be happening with certain professors currently, the chances of such a situation happening increase under the new rule.
- The restriction against inter-change of projects submissions persists even under the proposed amendments, which is a big source of inconvenience for many students. Exceptions can be made only in the case of carry over students and exemptions, and that too if the concerned course teacher agrees. We feel interchange should be allowed as a general rule. For instance if M wants to do Univs this year and she has an Evidence or History submission in her second half, it would be better for her academic performance if she could submit in the first half without any issue.
Electives In IV Year
The other important aspect of this proposal is the revamp of the course structure from 4th year onwards. This in our opinion, especially as recently disillusioned 3rd year students, is a very important move and can go a long way in ensuring that we don’t waste the next two years of our lives, studying courses that go nowhere. The proposal aims at introducing electives by 4th year, (in consonance with what all other law schools are already doing) to ensure that we have a choice to get professors and courses that actually interest us. While the idea is extremely welcome, we believe you should still pay attention to the details.
In brief, students must get 20 credits in IV year and 44 credits in V year. (20 hour elective courses = 2 credits while 40 hours = 4 credits). The ordinary structure of division would be 4 credits in IV year I trimester and the rest in IV year III trimester. You will be allowed to choose from 8 elective courses per trimester. Do keep in mind that the deadline for written submissions for these courses is the last day of the trimester with no scope for late submissions. The detailed marking scheme has been provided in Rule VII on page 19.
Further, the single credit courses you complete at any time can be set off against these mandatory credits. The detailed grading system (calculation of CGPA) can be found under the heading ‘Proposed amendment to Rule VI’ on page 20. In order to pass IV year students will need 32 out of 48 credits (5×4 elective courses + 7×4 mandatory courses). Finally it has also been proposed to add that “A student shall pass the 44 mandatory courses and pass elective courses (or a combination of elective courses and one credit courses) amounting to 64 credits, with a minimum CGPA of 3.00 within a maximum period of 8 years to be awarded the B.A. LL.B (Hons.) Degree.”
We hoped this helped. Once again, please turn up for the meeting and voice your concerns. Of course, these views are completely personal and you are not bound to agree with our opinions. Just make sure yours doesn’t get left out. If we have misinterpreted any proposal please let us know. (And of course: Don’t Panic!)