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Kerala HC strikes down college hostel rule prohibiting mobile use

first_imgKochi: In a landmark judgement, the Kerala High Court has directed readmission of a girl student expelled from a college hostel for opposing a regulation on use of mobile phones, noting that the right to access Internet is part of the Right to Education and Right to Privacy under the Constitution.The court also held that discipline shall not be enforced by blocking ways and means of students to acquire knowledge. In her judgement on Thursday, Justice P V Asha said, “When the Human Rights Council of the United Nations has found that right to access to Internet is a fundamental freedom and a tool to ensure right to education, a rule or instruction which impairs the said right of the students cannot be permitted to stand in the eye of law”. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghAs pointed out by the learned counsel for the petitioner, the Apex Court has in Vishaka & Ors. v. State of Rajasthan & Ors. held that in the light of Article 51(c) and 253 of the Constitution and the the role of judiciary envisaged in the Beijing Statement, international conventions and norms are to be read into fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution in the absence of enacted domestic law occupying the fields when there is no inconsistency between them. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroad”Going by the aforesaid dictum laid down in the said judgment, the right to have access to Internet becomes the part of right to education as well as right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” the court said. The court gave the judgement on a writ petition filed by a third semester B.A girl student of an aided college under the Calicut University, challenging her expulsion from the hostel. In her petition, she had said the inmates of the hostel were not allowed to use their mobile phone from 10 pm to 6 am within the hostel and that undergraduate students were not allowed to use laptops also in the hostel. The petition said from June 24, 2019 onwards the duration of the restriction in using the mobile phones was changed from 6 pm to 10 pm. Such restrictions were imposed only in the girls hostel. The petitioner said it amounted to discrimination based on gender, in violation of guidelines issued by UGC, which prohibits gender discrimination. In its order, the high court said the total restriction on the use of mobile phones and the direction to surrender it during the study hours was absolutely unwarranted.last_img

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