The students of National Law School of India University have decided to boycott the semester examinations that are scheduled to begin on Monday over the delay in appointing the next vice chancellor of the premier law school in Bengaluru, The Indian Express reported.

This is reportedly the first time in the history of the university that students are boycotting classes and exams.

The students are demanding the university administration to appoint professor Sudhir Krishnaswamy the vice chancellor. Krishnaswamy is currently teaching at Azim Premji University.

In July, a high-level committee appointed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi – who is also the chancellor of the law university – had named Krishnaswamy the next vice chancellor. Krishnaswamy would succeed R Venkata Rao who completed his 10-year term on July 31.

However, the university’s executive council is yet to issue a formal appointment order, and instead decided to appoint professor MK Ramesh the acting vice chancellor last month.

A press statement by the Student Bar Association said they were left with no other option than continue their protest. “With the end-term examinations commencing on September 23, an indefinite protest inevitably means boycotting these exams,” it said. “This decision has not been arrived [at] lightly, or in the heat of the moment. If our protest does not continue, we do not see this administration respecting the findings of this report.”

After the student’s boycotted class on Friday, the administration formed a four-member committee to address the students’ concern and examine the files related to the appointment process. The committee reported lapses in the process of the appointment. It also said that the composition of the executive council was changed one week before its 89th meeting, The Times of India reported.

The students alleged a conflict on the part of Registrar Omprakash V Nandimath, and said he deliberately stalled Krishnaswamy’s appointment. Nandimath was also one of the 16 applicants considered by the search committee, but his name was not shortlisted.

“The interim Vice-Chancellor has the power to accept the recusal of the Registrar, which he has not exercised,” the Student Bar Association said. “Despite these findings, the administration has only committed to considering the findings of this report. No commitment was made as to when the findings of this report will be given effect to,” it added.

The administration blamed Gogoi for the delay in appointment. “The CJI’s office has to sign off for issuing a formal notification, and we have not received that,” the registrar was quoted as saying by The Indian Express in a meeting.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Siddaramaiah said the crisis in the college should be resolved at the earliest. “NLSIU-Bengaluru is a prestigious institution which has excelled in the field of Public Policy & Law,” he tweeted. “The ongoing tussle between Student Bar and the administration has to be resolved at the earliest, without violating the due process, in the interest of the institution.”

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