AHMEDABAD: Depression can be classified as a serious illness, especially in the context of the pandemic, the Gujarat high court has observed, while setting aside the cancellation of registration and admission of an engineering student by a government college for not appearing for requisite exams due to depression and suicidal thoughts.
The high court issued the order on August 31 and a copy of it was made available on Thursday.
The academic performance review committee of the Surat-based Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology in October 2020 cancelled the registration and admission of the first-year B Tech (bachelor of technology) student for not earning the 25 credits needed for getting promoted to the next semester.
The student challenged this in the HC on the ground that he had suffered from “severe depressive episodes with suicidal ideation”, which started in January 2020 and peaked in May-June last year due to the Covid situation, which is why he could not appear for the examination.
“In the facts and circumstances of the case and more particularly in the context of the currency of the pandemic period, the depressive state of mind and the depression created in the petitioner student, can be classified as serious illness,” the court of Justice N V Anjaria observed.
The depressive cycle which the petitioner suffered was during the period of the pandemic itself. It was a period of widespread despondency, the HC noted.
It is reasonable to believe that the situation brought about by the pandemic created an adverse effect on the tender mind of the petitioner, who disengaged himself from studies, it further said.
“The ground advanced by the petitioner could be viewed as genuine as there is nothing to disbelieve the same. The stand of the respondent Institute to doubt is insensitive and departs from the facts stated in the letter of the parents fortified by the certificate of doctor. The reason given by the petitioner has to be appreciated in the special circumstance of the pandemic period,” the HC observed.The court, in its interim order on April 23 allowed the petitioner to appear for the supplementary examination in May 2021, which he passed to secure the requisite credits to be promoted to the next semester.
“The reason given by the petitioner has to be appreciated in the special circumstance of the pandemic period. It is the very reason of depressive tendencies developed in the mind of the petitioner during the pandemic which prevented him from applying on medical ground,” it said.