The Disciplinary Committee, or DisCo for short, is something which intrigues most students on campus. For some, coming under the purview of it is a nightmare come true, while for others, it is a badge they wear with pride, something Ďcoolí. But strangely, for something so important, there exists virtually no information about the process, and its workings. This article aims to detail all of this as comprehensively as possible.
The Committee consists of 6 members: the Associate Dean of the Students Welfare Division (who acts as the convener of the Committee), the Chief Warden, two teachers and two student representatives. The student representatives are picked by the Studentsí Union Council and vetted thoroughly by the SWD Associate Dean in terms of their academic and disciplinary record and other studentsí opinion of them, before being approved by the Senate. In order to maintain gender equality, there is always one male student and one female student in the Committee. All members of the Committee have equal say and the majority decision is enforced.
The Committee members receive no payment or benefits for their work as it is considered part of their usual academic duties. Moreover, it is important to note that the Disciplinary Committee only recommends the course of disciplinary action to be taken. The final decision is taken by the Administration. This ensures a completely fair process, with no place for personal issues being a factor in decision making.
Any case of indiscipline, or violation of rules is first reported to the respective Hostel Warden by the Hostel Superintendent. (Note: The Hostel Wardens are the Professors in-charge of the hostel, while the superintendents are the ones in the hostel office.)
The Hostel Warden then informs the Chief Warden and the Associate Dean of the SWD who determine the seriousness of the violation. The student is summoned and questioned with regards to the incident, and they are given a chance to defend themselves. If the student admits guilt, then a Committee meeting is convened to determine the further course of action. On the other hand, if the student insists that they are innocent, the Superintendents are asked to submit proof of the studentís guilt. If they fail to provide sufficient proof, the student is given the benefit of the doubt and let go.
After this step, in case guilt is proved, the Committee convenes to decide the studentís punishment. There is a set of standard guidelines laid down by the Administration detailing every offence and the punishment for the same. For first-time offenders, these guidelines are usually followed strictly. However, for repeat offenders, stricter action is taken, depending upon the gravity of the offence and the general conduct of the concerned student. There are various levels of punishment, varying from just a warning to fines to suspension for a semester or a year too, and in extreme cases, expulsion from the institute.
A general misconception among most students is that the money collected as the fine goes to the Administration, which would construe a conflict of interest. However, this is not so. The money actually goes to the Student Aid Fund (SAF) which helps students in need. Hence, all the money collected through disciplinary action is used for the students themselves.
Punishment or Correction?
The intention of the Disciplinary Committee is not to ruin studentsí lives by giving excessively harsh punishments. The aim of the Committee is to serve as a correctional measure for the students. They believe that it is not unusual for students at this age to feel the urge to explore such experiences, and their job is prevent students from going overboard. Hence, the punishments for first-time offences are usually fines instead of cancelling registration, as these pinch the students and teach them a lesson, but do not ruin their future.
However, this definitely does not mean that first-time offenders will be granted any leniency or be allowed to get away. Moreover, students who have faced disciplinary action are not allowed to hold any positions of responsibility for a year and not allowed to avail institute scholarships. Hence, one must keep this in mind before getting themselves into situations that could potentially ruin their future.
Special thanks to Sandip S Deshmukh sir and Amitesh Soni for taking the time out to answer all our questions and doubts regarding this topic.