I could not have done anything personally” Amity University founder’s response to Sushant Rohilla suicide

Sushant Rohilla
Dr Ashok Chauhan

In a major development in the Sushant Rohilla suicide case, Amity University Founder and Chairman Ashok Chauhan has claimed ‘no liability or responsibility’ in the matter.

Sushant Rohilla, a third-year student at Amity Law School, Delhi (ALSD), who was upset at not being able to sit for the end-semester exams, had sent an e-mail to Ashok Chauhan, seeking help in the matter. Sushant Rohilla had unfortunately received no response to his plea and in August last year he had committed suicide.

The contents of the e-mail have been published on Facebook by Sushant’s uncle.

His suicide had provoked a strong reaction amongst the law student community with over 500 students protesting until one of the senior-most professors and the Director at Amity Law School had resigned.

The Supreme Court had earlier this year asked Chauhan to submit an affidavit detailing the steps taken by the administration after receiving Rohilla’s “desperate” letter, pleading that he should not be forced to repeat the year because of his poor attendance.

Chauhan in his affidavit claims to have resigned from Ritnand Balved Education Foundation (Society), the non-profit organization, which is the umbrella body for all Amity Institutions in 2005.

He states,

“Since the very inception of the society till April 1997, I held the post of the President of the Society. In the year 2005, I resigned from the membership of the Society. Since then I’m neither a member of the Society nor holding any post in any capacity whatsoever. However, as a gesture of regard, I am referred to as the “Founder President”, without any responsibility or liability.

Chauhan further states,

“Since I resigned from the Society, I am not having [sic] any administrative or supervisory control over the affairs of the Society or any of the institutions established by the Society.”

In his affidavit, he also shifts the blame on Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University stating that ALSD was functioning under the affiliation of GGSIPU, not Amity University. He says in his affidavit,

“ALSD is presently situated in the campus of Amity University with the approval of the Bar Council of India, Government of NCT of Delhi and GGSIPU. For the B.A., LL.B (Hons), a five-year integrated course, the admissions in ALSD are conducted by GGSIPU.

The curriculum of the said course is also made by GGSIPU. ALSD and the students enrolled in it are governed strictly by the rules and regulations, including those with regard to attendance, examination etc. as framed by the GGSIPU. It may kindly be noted that ALSD is not part of Amity University.” 

Regarding the email that was sent by Sushant to Chauhan which, received no response, Chauhan’s defense was,

“I have an email id drchauhan@akcgroup.com. However, I do not access this or any other email personally. This email id is being accessed and operated by the staff working in my office. In case any email is received on my email id relating to any institution of “Amity” or the students enrolled therein, then my staff, if required, gets in touch with the concerned institution for doing the needful.”

This is apparently what had happened when Sushant Rohilla had emailed the Founder as well. Almost three months prior to his suicide on May 11 2016, Chauhan had received the email on his id from Sushant. He states,

“My staff brought the contents of the said email to my notice. Since this was a case of the B.A.,LL.B (Hons), a five-year integrated course run by ALSD and totally/strictly governed by the rules and regulations of GGSIPU, including those relating to attendance and debarment, I could not have done anything personally. 

However, keeping in view the contents of the email, I thought it proper to share its contents with the head of the institution, the Director ALSD and accordingly instructed my staff.”

As an end note to the affidavit, he mentions that he was “immensely saddened and pained” on hearing the news of the unfortunate suicide.

During the hearing of the case today in the Supreme Court, Kamini Jaiswal representing Rohilla had stated,

“[They] have filed a completely false affidavit. This is something to be taken seriously. “

The Court, however, was inclined to let the Delhi High Court deal with the matter instead, and directed the case to be transferred accordingly.

Image taken as a screenshot from here.