Hostels are not prisons, can't impose discriminatory rules: HC

Kerala High Court | Photo: File Image

Kochi: Kerala High Court on Thursday said student hostels are not prisons and that authorities cannot impose separate rules for male and female students.

The court observed while considering the writ petition filed by girl students of the Government Medical College Kozhikode against the notification issued by the Higher Education Department barring female students from going out of the Government Medical College hostels after 9.30 pm.

The consideration of the court is to ensure the constitutional rights of the citizens. “Female students have constitutional rights, perhaps even more than boys. Discriminatory restrictions (of stopping them from going out at 930 pm) cannot be imposed on girls,” stated the court.

The Court, on Tuesday, directed all principals and other authorities concerned with medical colleges to act in accordance with the recent terms of the state government, which has substantially relaxed the timings of government medical college hostels, by stipulating the closing time of gates for both girls and boys to be 9.30 pm and giving sufficient leeway to the students to enter after that time subject to bare minimum conditions, with immediate effect.

Justice Devan Ramachandran said that the new order was welcome as it was gender-neutral. The State Women's Commission informed the court that gender equality has been maintained in this latest order.

University defends girls hostel curfew
Earlier, in a statement, the Kerala University of Health Sciences asserted that the writ petition by the girl students of the Government Medical College Kozhikode was without properly understanding the import and purpose of the impugned government order.

The university contended that there was no element of discrimination involved in the issuance of the said order and that it was issued taking into account the right to have equal treatment to the students without any gender bias.

"The petitioners who are medical students have their classes starting by 8 a m and they require sufficient sleep after every day's work. Sleepless nights and nightlife are not meant for the students and the educational institution and the university must frame regulations contemplating sufficient rest for the students. The restrictions imposed are not absolute and the ordinance provides for the issuances of late passes from the concerned persons," the university said.

(With inputs from Live Law)

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