Students Move Kerala High Court Over Women's Hostel Entry Timings; Details Here
Female students at a college located in Kothamangalam, Kerala, have filed a case with the Kerala High Court, alleging gender-based discrimination and a violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. Specifically, 33 engineering students from Mar Athanasius College in Kothamangalam have lodged a formal complaint with the Kerala High Court regarding what they perceive as discriminatory scheduling practices within the women's hostel.
In their submission, these students contend that college authorities have established a distinct entry time of 6:30 pm exclusively for female students. They argue that this deadline is unjust and extends beyond the college's rightful jurisdiction. The students assert that this adjustment to the admittance time goes against government directives, a claim supported by reports. Furthermore, they highlight that male candidates have been disadvantaged as the entry time for the men's dormitories has been set at 9 pm.
The students are additionally seeking a court order to mandate that the college sets a curfew of 9:30 pm, asserting that such a directive aligns better with their rights and ensures equality. Although the Kerala government had previously issued a directive in 2019 requiring women's hostels in state-affiliated colleges to adhere to a 6:30 pm entry time, it also specified that essential facilities like laboratories, workshops, libraries, research centers, and sports amenities should remain accessible until 9:30 pm, allowing all students unrestricted use.
The students' petition argues that the college's imposition of these restrictions under the guise of maintaining discipline impinges upon students' freedom to move within and outside the campus. The appeal has been officially filed through legal representatives Aswathy Krishnan, V Harish, Rajan Vishnuraj, and AL Navaneeth Krishnan, as reported by The News Minute.
Justice Basant Balaji's single-judge bench, on August 11, combined this case with other related cases and scheduled a hearing for August 18. The college's legal counsel had requested additional time to prepare a response.
Conversely, in a separate development, the University Grants Commission (UGC) recently bestowed autonomous status upon Mar Athanasius College of Engineering in Kothamangalam for a duration of ten years, commencing from the academic year 2023-2024. This accolade, granted in July, marks the second instance of a government-aided engineering institution in the state receiving autonomous status. The autonomy granted by the UGC is anticipated to enable the college to enhance its future prospects by shaping its curriculum and facilitating growth, according to reports.