Counsel Students, Scoring Good marks not Most Important in Life: Delhi HC to IIT

Discouraging the growing trend of suicides by students under pressure, the Delhi High Court has called upon the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to put in conscious efforts for counselling students and making young minds understand that scoring good marks is not the most important thing in life and they can give their best without succumbing to the stress of performing better.

The court raised the concern while dealing with a petition concerning the alleged suicide last year by two IIT-Delhi students belonging to a Scheduled Caste (SC) community.

The parents of the students had sought the court’s directions for the registration of an FIR and an impartial probe into the “caste-based atrocities” being committed in the institution.

Police said an enquiry was conducted into the two incidents of July and September last year, and while there was no evidence of caste-based discrimination, it was found that the deceased were failing in multiple subjects and were under pressure to perform better academically.

“This court can understand the sentiments of the parents of the deceased and deeply discourages the growing trend of pressurising young minds to perform the best in every aspect of life, leading them to take unfortunate steps,” said Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar in the order released on Thursday.

“It is high time that the faculty as well as other staff members of the Indian Institute of Technology make conscious efforts and take endeavours to counsel, encourage, motivate and invigorate the students. It is of utmost priority to make the young minds understand that though scoring good marks and performing your best is important, but it is not the most important thing in life and one can certainly give his or her best without succumbing to the pressures or stress of performing better,” the court said.

It added that the values of prioritising health, both physical and mental, can be best instilled in young minds when they are in their student years and this would give them the confidence to face every challenge in life.

Considering that the allegations levelled by the petitioners could not be corroborated, the judge refused to direct any probe in relation to the alleged caste atrocities.

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The petitioners had argued that their children were bright students who had cracked the prestigious JEE-Advanced and got admission in IIT-Delhi, but faced caste-based discrimination at the hands of some of the faculty members.

The court said undoubtedly, the academic careers of two brilliant and young students came to an end under devastating circumstances, but the relief sought by their parents cannot be issued in a routine manner merely on the basis of sympathy or sentiments.

“A perusal of the status report filed by the ASC (additional standing counsel) for the State shows that a thorough and detailed enquiry was conducted into both the cases and it was found that no complaint was ever given by any of the deceased students to the police, SC/ST Cell of IIT-Delhi or to any of their friends in campus regarding any caste-based discrimination being faced by them,” the court noted.

“Though this court is very much aware of the plight of the grieving parents of two young students who took extreme steps and the agony undergone by them, however, this court cannot issue a mandamus on the basis of mere sentiment or sympathy,” it ruled.

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