NLSIU SBA report highlights effect of year losses on Mental Health of students

Aditya AK April 2 2019
NLSIU

The Student Bar Association (SBA) of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU Bangalore) has come out with a report highlighting the negative impact of year losses on the mental health of students at the University.

The report shockingly reveals that the current graduating batch of 2019 has been reduced to 59 students, from the initial strength of 80. As per the report, a total of 5 students left NLSIU in the first two years, 2 students committed suicide, and another 14 were denied promotion at different stages over the five-year course.

The report goes on to state that the neglect of mental health caused by denial of promotion is not limited to the 2019 batch alone.

“This state of affairs reveals the egregious systemic neglect of the mental health of a sizeable portion of the student population. The system of promotions at law school is like quicksand. It drags its victims into a never-ending abyss of repeated year-losses. It disadvantages those it should protect, above all. A cursory comparison with other universities clearly indicates that this system needs an immediate overhaul.”

To prove this point, a comparison of year losses across each batch has been provided. The numbers show that forty-five students received year-losses in NLSIU out of about 400+ students, in the 2017-18 academic year alone.

The table below shows the batch-wise number of students who have received year losses in NLSIU, in the academic years 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18. It, however, does not account for those who have left the University midway, which average 6-7 per incoming batch.

Academic Year 1st-2nd year 2nd-3rd year 3rd-4th year 4th-5th year Detained in 5th year
2015-16 2 7 8 6 1
2016-17 2 4 13 NA NA
2017-18 2 7 21 9 -

The report also compares the number of year losses in other NLUs, including NALSAR Hyderabad, NLIU Bhopal, NUJS Kolkata, and NLU Delhi.

University Average no. of year losses Total Strength
NALSAR Hyderabad 11 600+
NLIU Bhopal 10-12 640+
NUJS Kolkata 8-10 635+
NLU Delhi 12 400+

It is thus concluded that the system of promotion at NLSIU is defective, and pays no heed to the potential effects on the mental health of students.

“Those students who find themselves entangled in this vicious cycle of repeated year losses find it difficult to escape the loop. This may manifest itself in various forms of mental illness, driving students to the very edge. It has been seen that this may also lead to students taking extreme steps, as a consequence.”

The opinions of counsellors on campus also state that it is necessary to explore different options that could help mitigate the difficulties of students who face year losses.

Thus, the SBA recommended a few changes to the system, and is deliberating with the administration on the issue.

These recommendations come shortly after NLSIU recorded its third suicide in the last five years last month. After that tragic incident, the alumni of the University called for introspection in order to address the issue of mental health on campus.