The Kerala High Court on Wednesday expressed its displeasure on imposing curfew in the women’s hostel of Kozhikode Medical College that expects all the students to return by 9.30 pm.
The court made these observations after a plea was moved by five female MBBS students and office-bearers of the College Union of the Kozhikode Medical College. The plea also pointed out that there were no restrictions involved for the male students.
The Kozhikode Medical College submitted an affidavit in response to the plea. The affidavit said seeking absolute freedom at the age of 18 would not be "appropriate and good for the society".
"In the regulations governing the hostel administration, there is no restriction which is unreasonable and gender discriminative," said the affidavit.
Kerala Medical Students Challenge Hostel Curfew
The high court expressed its displeasure on the notification issued by the Higher Education department that does not allow students to go out of the hostel after 9.30 pm. The court also pointed out that such restrictions under the guise of protection were nothing but patriarchy.
While hearing the plea, Justice Devan Ramachandran observed, “In these modern times, any form of patriarchy, even in the guise of offering protection based on gender, cannot be accepted. Girls, as much as boys, are fully capable of taking care of themselves, and if not, it must be the endeavour of the state and the public authorities to make them so competent, rather than being locked in.”
The petitioners approached the court challenging a Government Order issued in 2019 that prescribed a condition that restricted the entry and exit of hostel inmates of higher education colleges after 9.30 pm, without any reason.
Female students at the medical college protested and questioned why were asked to be inside the hostel premises by 9.30 pm when the library and other facilities at the college were open till 11:30 pm. They also notified the court that there is no curfew at the boys' hostel.
“The petitioners who have attained the age of majority ought to be given the freedom to choose the mode or manner in which they intend to study as long as it does not cause any disturbance to others,” the plea stated.
The court also pointed out that the GO, prima facie, appeared to restrict the ability of students even to walk on the campus after a particular time and that the same can be justified only if compelling reasons are shown.
The court has further sought the response of the state government, University and Kerala State Women’s Commission and posted the case for December 7.
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