The prime purpose behind studying law is to be aware of the edicts that govern us and to be able to fight for a cause. Samrita Shankar, a 22-year-old law graduate from Chennai, has achieved it even before getting herself enrolled with the Bar Council.
What’s touching is that the first battle won by her, on completion of the law course, is a tribute to motherhood. She has succeeded in convincing her alma mater, a private university, to issue a revised provisional degree certificate containing her mother’s name too alongside her father’s name
In an e-mail penned to the head of her law school, Ms. Shankar wrote: “Both my parents (Sowmya Shankar and Shankar Narasimhan) have equally contributed to my education and in successfully completing my law degree. To be able to study in a prestigious and well-known university is no simple feat.
“My parents wanted me to get the best possible education and have therefore made many sacrifices to ensure that I am able to continue and successfully complete my law degree. They have always been supportive of all educational and co-curricular endeavours that have contributed to a joyous and enriching college experience. Hence, they both equally deserve to see their names on my degree certificate and other related documents.”
She also backed her plea with the legal position by pointing out that University Grants Commission (UGC) norms permit printing names of all three – the student, father and mother – in academic testimonials. The norm was introduced in 1998 and reiterated in 2014. She said other students may be given the similar option.
“In today’s world, mothers are equally working hard and contributing financially and otherwise towards their children’s development and education. Therefore, continuing with an anachronistic practice such as only including the father’s name in educational certificates is not only a step back in achieving gender equality but also disrespectful to single/unwed/divorced mothers and their children,”
It was her contention that the students should be given the option of including either the name of the father or the mother or that of both in their academic testimonials.
“We live in an era where such situations are not only likely to happen but are indeed very much happening. Therefore, it is the duty of the universities to adapt to this reality and ensure that it is reflected in all academic procedures,” her mail to the law school read.
Elated over the institute having responded promptly, she said it took just days for it to re-issue her provisional degree certificate with her mother’s name too on the document. Ms. Shankar would now be receiving her degree certificate at the annual convocation to be held on August 7.