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Mumbai man approaches Bombay High Court to get his degree cancelled saying that he had cheated
A student of Mumbai University has approached the Bombay High Court seeking directions to the university for cancellation of his degree as he claims that he had paid Rs 20,000 to an agent for clearing his first year Bachelor of Engineering (BE) paper.

26-year old Vaibhav Patil has approached the high court as a last resort after he had gotten tired of knocking every door in his university. Everyone told him to seek psychiatric help or see an in-house counsellor.

Vaibhav, who had secured his BE degree with specialisation in IT in 2011 has been so filled with guilt that he has not even taken up a job. He has been devoting all his time in chasing university officials for having his degree revoked.

At one point of time, he got so much filled by repentance of his wrong doing that his family had to seek medical advice and psychiatric treatment for him from a doctor in Jalgaon, his hometown. That doctor had to put him on heavy dosage of anti-depressants.

On Tuesday, while speaking to Mumbai Mirror on the condition that his picture would not be carried by the paper, Vaibhav said, "I knew there was nothing wrong with me but I had committed a wrong that had to be set right and that was it."

Vaibhav had flunked in the first year Maths – II paper. While he had the option of clearing it in the second year, his friends adviced him against it and told him to contact an `agent' who would help him clear the paper. "I was vulnerable. I was in a state of shock after flunking the paper," recalls Vaibhav.

He paid Rs 20,000 to the agent who got him cleared in the examination. Although, he managed to clear his remaining papers in subsequent years in a fair and honest manner, the guilt of what he had done in the first year stayed on with him. Vaibhav said, "I always felt that I had cheated my conscience."

As soon as he was awarded the degree, he began writing to university authorities requesting for quashing of his degree. He said, "I wrote to the office of the vice-chancellor, the Students Welfare Department, and every other possible authority but could not get any response. Wherever I went, people asked me to see a psychiatrist or a counsellor and asked me to get rid of the guilt."

Ultimately, it was in 2014 that Vaibhav decided to approach the Bombay High Court to get rid of his tainted degree. But, here too, the road was more difficult than he could have imagined. No lawyer was ready to take up his case, as they felt that it was a losing proposition. Finally, a lawyer agreed to draft his petition, but only on the condition of anonymity. The petition was filed in August 2014 and admitted in the month of September the same year. The next date of hearing is scheduled on September 20, this year. Vaibhav is representing himself in the case.

Confirming that Vaibhav had approached the university, registrar, University of Mumbai, MA Khan said that there were two problems in Vaibhav's case. One, that he was not ready to reveal the name of the agent or how he had cheated; two, under the Maharashtra Universities Act there is no provision for the university to revoke a degree on a student's request.

Khan said, "While the act has provisions for the university to cancel a degree if it is found to be fake, there is no provision to take such a step upon a student's request." He, however, said that his degree can be revoked if the Academic Council wants to do that, but for that also he will have to produce evidence that he had cheated and how it was done.

But Vaibhav is unyielding. He says, "If I reveal the agent's identity a lot of other students may get into trouble. All I want is that students should know what I have been through. I want to send out the message that nothing is worth achieving when you get it through wrong means. I have learnt my lesson and hope that others do too."

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