AMID CONTINUOUS protest from the Students for Society (SFS) for ending the nocturnal curbs on movement of girl students in the hostels of Panjab University, the matter on Tuesday reached the Punjab and Haryana High Court with a 52-year-old advocate, who is also a parent of a PU student, seeking directions against any such decision by PU and further quashing of the recent minutes of a meeting on the recommended changes in the hostel timings.
While adding the Panjab University Campus Students Council (PUCSC) president Kanupriya as a party in the case, the division bench of Chief Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Arun Palli sought a response from the PU authorities and kept it for hearing on December 11. The PUCSC president was impleaded as a party as the court wanted to also hear her stand on the issue.
However, prior to issuance of the notice to the PU authorities and Kanupriya, the division bench also observed that this is 21st century, not 1890. The counsel representing the petitioner, however, argued that the demand for keeping the hostel open 24×7 has been made by some students and not the majority.
In the petition, it has been said that the demand is being made to “achieve political goals” and a conscious decision had been made by the university while issuing its Hand Book of Hostel Rules in June 2018 not to keep the girls’ hostels open for 24 hours.
Seeking quashing of the November 9 minutes of meeting of the committee, which has been constituted to look into the demands regarding the hostel timings, the petitioner has said that it is clear that a decision is being made to grant girl students permission to move out of the hostel beyond 11 pm on the condition that they would be responsible for their own safety.
Stating that the hand book of hostel rules provides for adherence to all the hostel rules, the petitioner has said the main objective behind rules is to provide a home-like atmosphere in the hostels. He contends that no such demand for 24×7 freedom has been raised by the students of boys’ hostels. The “assurance” regarding the timings was made to the parents of the girl students at the time of admission, the plea has said.
“In the present case, the conditions as imposed in the hostel rules for the girls are reasonable and are necessary in the larger interest of the general public/women. If the restriction is not imposed upon the timings of the girls hostel then there would be a possibility of sexual exploitation of the girls and increasing of crime against girls such as rape, kidnapping and abduction for different purposes,” the petitioner has claimed.