Depression can be classified as a serious illness, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gujarat HC observed, while setting aside the cancellation of enrollment and admission of an engineering student, for the absence in the requisite exam due to depression and suicidal thoughts by a government college in Surat.
The registration and admission of the first year B Tech (Bachelor of Technology) student was cancelled by the academic performance review committee of the Surat-based Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology (SVNIT) in October 2020, for not receiving the required 25 credits for promotion to the next semester.
This was challenged by the student in the HC on the ground that he had suffered from “severe depressive episodes which included suicidal ideation”, which started in January 2020 and further elevated in the months of May-June last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, which is the reason he could not appear for the examination.
“Given the facts and circumstances of the case, especially in the context of the pandemic, depression and depressive state of mind created in the petitioner, can be regarded as a serious problem and a serious illness,” Judge NV’s Anjaria noted.
The depressive cycle which the petitioner suffered from was during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic – a period of widespread melancholy, the court noted.
“The ground advanced by the petitioner can be considered authentic as there is nothing to not believe in the same. The stand of the respondent institute is highly insensitive and retreats from the facts stated in the letter of the parents fortified by the certificate issued by the doctor. The reason established by the petitioner should be respected especially in the special circumstance of the COVID 19 pandemic.” The HC observed in its order.