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Kerala HC disposes of plea challenging 'restriction on girl students', says basic discipline will have to be maintained

ANI | Updated: Dec 22, 2022 22:18 IST

Kochi (Kerala) [India], December 22 (ANI): The Kerala High Court on Thursday said that basic discipline will have to be "maintained" in student hostels and disposed of the petitions filed by certain girl students challenging the Higher Education Department notification barring female students from going out of the Hostel after 9.30 PM.
The petitions were filed by certain girl students of Government Medical College Kozhikode against the impugned notification issued by the Higher Education Department.
"Girls only need the permission of the hostel warden to go inside the campus from the hostel after 9.30 pm. At the same time, parents' permission is required to leave the hostel after 9.30 for other purposes," the court stated.
Single Bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran also observed that a basic discipline will have to be maintained in student hostels and these cannot be found to be an intrusion into the personal liberties of our young men and women, as long as they are not capricious or intended to foster patriarchism.

"In an ideal society, girls and women must be able to walk on the streets at any point of time, be that day or night," the court said, adding that such an atmosphere will require the security systems to be as advanced.
"Our children have the right to experience life in all its vicissitudes and manifestations, and cannot be locked up or secluded even on the ground of offering them protection. It is the inviolable duty of society to offer protection, and make our streets and public spaces safe. Since this is not an ideal world, certainly, concerns of protection and requirements of security would have to be given the primacy that it requires, however, without boxing in our girls, and making them feel that they require a man to protect them. Though ideally, one could aspire for life on campus without any such restrictions, perhaps our State is not ready for the same yet. Viewed from the perspective of law, no rights are absolute; not even Fundamental Rights," the court observed.
The bench further noted that there can be no doubt that attempts to trample a young woman's choices under the guise of protection will have to be frowned upon, but the question of whether hostels will have to be kept open unrestricted is one in the policy realm, which this court cannot speak affirmatively.
In the last hearing, the Kerala University for Health Sciences submitted in the High Court that hostels are not tourist homes for nightlife and students don't have to go out at night.
The petitioners also challenged several clauses of the Ordinance for Recognition of Hostels in affiliated Educational Institutions under the Kerala University of Health Sciences that set certain fixed times when the students have to study and can use the study hall. (ANI)