Should degree certificate be made invalid over dowry? Is Arif Mohd Khan's proposal feasible?

Arif Mohammed Khan
Arif Mohammed Khan

Kochi: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan set many tongues wagging by holding an unusual day-long fast at the Raj Bhavan on Wednesday against the dowry custom and the rising crimes against women in the state. He even suggested that universities should seek an anti-dowry bond from degree students, but several experts noted that this was impractical.

Even those who stand firmly with the Governor's anti-dowry stance point out that currently there is no law to make this a precondition for a degree certificate and that it is not practical.

The Governor, who is also the Chancellor of Universities, had recently suggested that students should be asked to give an undertaking that they will not take or give dowry before accepting their degree certificates. And that the certificates should be cancelled if the bond is violated.

He also said that he would discuss this with the Vice-Chancellors. However, legal experts are of the opinion that it is not practical to revoke the certificate issued to the students, who have earned it.

The current system allows even those jailed for various crimes to study and earn a degree.

Certificates are currently cancelled for exam irregularities such as mark scams, impersonation and certificate scams. Certificate can be revoked if it is found to have been obtained in improper ways. Apart from that, certificates cannot be cancelled even for involvement in serious offences such as murder.

As the degree certificate is the basis of an individual's livelihood, any provision that makes it liable for cancellation would be unconstitutional, explained former Director-General of Prosecutions T Asaf Ali.

Advocate Kurian George Kannanthanam, a legal expert on education, pointed out the obstacles in implementing such a measure.

“Though I agree with the idea of ensuring youth participation against dowry, a student who has studied and passed the examination is entitled to the degree certificate. Would it be possible to impose the bond just on a student when the family members are also involved in the dowry practice? There are also other issues such as implementing this without gender discrimination among students,” he pointed out.

Senior advocate K P Satheesan said that a new law will be required to implement the new stipulation.

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