In a revolutionary judgement following a petition filed by a student of a college in Thrissur, Kerala, the Kerala High Court maintained that girls have equal freedom as boys and struck down specific discriminatory guidelines of the college authorities.
A section of guidelines formulated by this college authorities were questioned basis the fact that were allegedly discriminatory towards female students and violating their fundamental rights.
The petitioner highlighted four rules that were hindering her rights of which the High Court took cognisance of two rules and ordered in favour of the petitioner.
Commenting on the instruction that read, “No member of the hostel shall take active part in political meetings, processions or propaganda” the High Court held that “It is the fundamental right of every citizen to have its own political views as part of the freedom of expression.”
The second instruction stated that, “Boarders may be permitted to attend pictures or other entertainments only on the day notified by the warden.
No boarder shall be permitted to go for the first and second show pictures,” to which the court remarked that, “A girl is having equal freedom similar to a boy. There are no similar instructions in the boy’s hostel. It is for the student to decide whether they should go for first or second show movies or not. It is an activity outside the hostel.”
The high court however observed that college can fix timings (reasonable) for return in the evening on account of maintaining discipline in the hostel.
To the college’s argument stating that the hostel instructions were signed by the students’ parents the court reverted that, “The petitioner is an adult.
“Her right to question cannot be compromised based on parental consent. Even if the parent had signed, instruction cannot be violative of fundamental rights.”
Sharing her views on these gender based regulations at various colleges across the country. Padmaja Mahajan, a PG student shares, “Indian haven’t come out of the fact that female students can take care of themselves.
They consider them as a liability that can bring a dent on their reputation if something happens to them during their residence in the college hostel. For females above the age of 18, there shouldn’t be such regressive rules in place, it only reflects the college’s myopic approach towards gender. equality”
Devki Jha, a computer science student shares that in most of the instructions released by the college, it is often mentioned that the college authorities cannot be held responsible for any mishap happening outside the college premises then why such indifferent treatment for girls?
“Anything that happens when the student is on leave or a night out granted by the hostel authorities shouldn’t be a matter of concern. Moreover, they are in a hostel and not under police custody to get counselling and moral policing on what to speak and practise,” adds Jha.
A lecturer at a city-based college agrees with the view that no one should restrict the thoughts and thinking process of an adult. “Voicing an opinion is part of a democracy.
However, there are also certain house rules that the students must adhere to when living within the college and they cannot question the authorities. It must be understood that the institution also has certain rights and privileges.
Respecting the freedom and rights of both the institution and the adult student is of utmost importance,” she adds.
#All views expressed in this article are those of the individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to him
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