Supreme Court dismisses Monash University student’s case of failed assignment

By @chelean on
Chinmay Naik
Chinmay Naik is suing Monash University for giving him a failing mark on a test. screenshot from 7 News

The student who sued Monash University for failing his assignment has had his case dismissed by the Victorian Supreme Court. Chinmay Naik was also ordered to pay the university’s $8,000 legal fee on Friday.

The 23-year-old journalism student wanted the court to reverse the failing grade he got for an assignment, which required him to create a video about the negative stereotypes surrounding certain dog breeds. He submitted his assignment 19 days late, getting 12 points out of 100 in June 2017. He failed it again with 21 points after it was re-marked. The markers described his assignment as having “no narrative structure, one shot of overlay, no expert interviews, no clear beginning/middle/end.”

He argued that the university breached its policy by having the same examiner marked his assignment on both occasions. Monash University denied the claim, saying it had followed the correct process.

Naik needed to pass the assignment to finish his degree and be allowed to keep his visa. And so he took his case to the Human Rights Commission and the Ombudsman. He also wrote to then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull but did not get a response.

He had hoped the Supreme Court would decide if he could sue the university. However, Justice Melinda Richards told him to “move on.”

“It’s not the end of the world. Plenty of people fail a subject and go on to have successful and rewarding careers,” she was quoted by the Guardian as saying.

Although Justice Richards agreed that it was “arguable” that the university had breached its policy by not revealing the identity of the second marker, it was not enough to grant the court jurisdiction over the university’s decision.

“Life doesn’t end here,” Naik said outside the Supreme Court. “I respect the judgment and we’ll see where to go from here.”

He added, “Sometimes things don’t go your way, doesn’t mean that you were wrong.”

The judge said his mark could not be undone. He was ordered to pay the university’s legal costs, which was estimated to be about $8,000.

Naik also took his case to the Victorian Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission, as well as the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. His hearing was scheduled later this month.

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