The Delhi High Court has come to the rescue of a couple who were denied re-entry to the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus hostel accommodation for married students because of a circular which said that students who had left the campus before the lockdown may return only after such a notification is issued.
The petitioner, a PhD scholar in the third year at JNU, was out for his field work to OP Jindal University in Sonipat, and was not able to return to the hostel due to the lockdown. He sought quashing of a June 8 order by Dean of Students, JNU, which stated that the University shall remain closed and the time of its re-opening may get delayed till August 15 or later.
The court observed that the couple have no other place to go and are unlikely to get an “alternate accommodation in a hurry especially in trying pandemic times”.
The court made the observation on Friday after the man submitted that the couple were married to each other against the wishes of their families, and the village elders, the khap panchayat, are opposed to their matrimony. “Therefore, they cannot go back to their native place for residence,” the court was told.
The couple have been residing at the hostel accommodation for married students at JNU for the last five years. The plea stated that he has two more years to complete his thesis, and they “neither have alternative accommodation nor will anyone provide them shelter, especially in these straitened Covid-19 pandemic circumstances.”
Justice Najmi Waziri, while hearing the plea, observed, “Be that as it may, the university married couples’ hostel is the only home where the petitioner and his spouse have been staying for the past few years. Their access to the same cannot be denied to them except by due process of law. Simply because they had gone out on some fieldwork, he cannot be denied re-entry… Since the allotment subsists, they cannot be shut out. They should not be prevented from living in the allotted accommodation.”
The central government standing counsel, Monika Arora, obtained instruction from JNU and said the “university has reconsidered the petitioner’s case and because of his special circumstances, he and his spouse will be forthwith allowed re-entry and resumption of habitation in their allotted university accommodation”.
The plea was, thereafter, disposed of.
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