October 21, 2017

Kerala HC says 'no' to campus politics in colleges, triggers uproar

13 October 2017, 11:06 | Glen Norman

In an interim order that may effectively put an end to political activities in campus in Kerala, a division bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday, October 12, stated that the protests and hunger strikes have no place in educational institutions in the state. Coming down heavily on K. Jishnu, SFI unit secretary in the college and the fourth respondent in the case, the court observed, "the first thing which crosses our mind is whether he goes to the college to indulge in politics or study, a question which he and his parents must consider, for we hold that in academic institutions politics or political activities can not be permitted".

"Anyone indulging in political activities in educational institutions would make himself/herself liable for rustication".

It was dealing with a petition filed by the MES College in Ponnani. Educational institutions are not for politics. The police would be under an obligation to assist the authorities in maintaining peace and orderly conduct of academics on the college premises if they were called upon by the college authorities.

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The Bench observed that if students had legitimate grievances, avenues for ventilating them were legally available.

If he was so inclined, he might withdraw from the college to continue his political career. The court ruled that students unions have no place at all in academic institutions.

The court said that if any student is found taking part in dharna, strike or any activity that disrupts academic activities of any college, the principal or the authorities of that college will have the right to rusticate them.

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Making a sweeping criticism, which could trigger a debate in the civil society, on the means of protests adopted by political parties the court also felt that dharna and hunger strikes are coercive means to achieve illegal demands. In 2014, the state government had informed the court that it proposed to ban political activities in colleges.

The next hearing of the case is to come up on Monday.

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