Girls having Freedom Similar to Boys- Court Strikes Down Discriminatory Hostel Rules for Girls


March 18, 2019

Case name: Anjitha K Jose & anr. v. State of Kerala & ors.

In the case, the Petitioners, students of Respondent College namely, Sree Kerala Varma College have challenged instructions issued by the College pertaining to maintenance of discipline in hostel. The Petitioners in the case averred that the instructions issued by the college were in violation of the UGC (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Women Employees and Students in Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2015 as well as the fundamental rights of the students.

The excerpts from the instructions which were challenged are reproduced herein below:

The High Court of Kerala, while striking down some of the instructions made the following noteworthy observations in the case:

  1. The Court while striking down instruction stating that no boarder shall take no active part in political meetings and propaganda opined that the instruction had nothing to do with the object of maintain disciple in the hostel and that it is the fundamental right of every citizen to take part in political views as part of freedom of speech and expression.
  2. The Court while striking down instruction pertaining to boarders attending movies and pictures, the High Court observed that the moral choice of the management is attempted to be imposed upon the boarders. The moral paternalism is something to be frowned upon. A girl is having equal freedom similar to a boy. There are no similar restriction in the boy’s hostel.

The aforesaid observations made by Justice A Muhamed Mushtaq is indeed a noteworthy and progressive one and takes us a step further towards women empowerment in India. There are several institutions in India including some premier institutions and colleges which have different set of rules for girl’s hostel and boy’s hostel, wherein the rules regulating boy’s hostel are far more liberal as compared to that of girls. The primary duty of every institution or for that matter the State should be to ensure safety of women and not stifle their freedom under the garb of making rules to maintain discipline.