The hostel administration of Regional Institute of Education (RIE), Bhopal has allegedly illegally expelled a student of B.Ed first year on account of her suffering from moderate depressive disorder recently. The student had applied for a week of medical leave from the hostel after she consulted an AIIMS doctor for her illness. The AIIMS doctor forgot to sign the OPD slip which created confusion with the Chief Warden of the hostel and on the pretext of which, he ordered the eviction.
The Chief Warden, PK Tripathy has signed a notification, which says that the student must vacate the hostel immediately and be ‘handed over to her guardian.’ Not just this, the hostel administration wrote that they are in fact expelling her because of the disorder and accused her of presenting a ‘false’ prescription of her medical condition. Under the recent amendment in the Mental Health Act of 1987, an organisation expelling a person on the behest of a mental condition can lead to a legal offence and three years of imprisonment.
Under the recent amendment in the Mental Health Act of 1987, an organisation expelling a person on the behest of a mental condition can lead to a legal offence and three years of imprisonment.
The student spoke to SheThePeople.TV about the incident and said, “I pleaded to the chief warden Tripathy sir that I want to prove my innocence and that I will bring a letter from the AIIMS HOD stating that I did consult them for my illness but they kept asking me to vacate the hostel and till date accuse me with false allegations. My parents also spoke to the chief warden but he humiliated my father and threatened him.”
The hostel administration verified the OPD slip with AIIMS officials who said that the student did visit them for a check-up. However, they couldn’t verify the prescription as they had not signed it. The student told us, “They would have verified the prescription also if the hostel administration bothered to take me along. Since AIIMS doctors see a lot of patients on a daily basis, they couldn’t verify the prescription because the doctor who gave it to me forgot to sign my prescription. Later when I visited the AIIMS doctor with my parents, he has now verified the prescription as well and gave it to me in writing that I did consult with him.”
Despite the verification and the evidences now, the chief warden is still not withdrawing his order and reinstating the student.
Despite the verification and the evidences now, the chief warden is still not withdrawing his order and reinstating the student. She and her parents also consulted with the College principal, Prof. Nityananda Pradhan, in this regard, but he also did not help them and asked them to leave. The hostel administration gave no prior notice to vacate the hostel, thereby foreclosing the possibility to appeal/negotiate with the administration. The student had previously changed her room once because of a different medical condition pertaining to her eyes and now they are allegedly using this as a pretext to prove her ‘inability to mingle with fellow hostellers.’
The chief warden threatened her parents that if she chooses to stay forcefully then they wouldn’t let her access the mess and other facilities. They also alleged that they would call the cops to turn her in. It has been close to ten days that the college hostel released the order and the college hasn’t taken a single step to look into the matter and try to sort it out. The college wardens have apparently been continuously harassing her with calls asking her to leave the premises.
Talking about her mental condition, she said, “Earlier I was feeling a lot of anxiety and difficulty in falling asleep which is why I sought psychiatric help. I was dealing with the disorder but now this has aggravated my anxiety and mental ability to deal with this situation. It has also affected my studies extremely since I feel less capable to concentrate. Even my house is over 20 km far away from college so it is difficult to travel from home on an everyday basis.”
However, the other students in the hostel are supporting her in her cause. An RIE hosteller told us, “She is not in a good mental condition and now with this, the hostel administration is also giving her mental trauma which is not helping her in any way.”
Earlier I was feeling a lot of anxiety and difficulty in falling asleep which is why I consulted psychiatric help. I was dealing with the disorder but now this has aggravated my anxiety and mental ability to deal with this situation. It has also affected my studies extremely since I feel less capable to concentrate. Even my house is over 20 km far away from college so it is difficult to travel from home on an everyday basis. – Evicted Student.
Just a few months back, the women students of RIE also protested against the gender discriminatory rules of the college hostel which did not go down well with the college authorities and they remain unhinged by the protests and refused to make any changes in their policies. This particular incident isn’t the only one where they have expelled a girl student and asked her to immediately vacate the premises. In an earlier incident, a woman resident was allegedly evicted from her hostel room on account of her not filling the ‘leave slip’ a slip that is meant to be submitted to the ‘wing leader.’ The warden found this as an excuse to punish her and to get her expelled from the hostel. After fighting back for weeks, the woman eventually had to leave the hostel and go.
We also tried to reach out to the hostel chief warden who was unreachable. This copy will be updated with his comments when he responds to us.
Picture credit- Rama Chouhan