In a significant verdict, the Kerala High Court has held that discipline shall not be be enforced by blocking the ways and means of students to acquire knowledge, as it directed readmission of a girl student expelled from her college hostel for opposing a regulation on use of mobile phones.
The court allowed the petition filed by the 18-year old undergraduate student of an aided college under the Calicut University, challenging her expulsion from the hostel for not obeying rules prohibiting inmates of the girls hostel from using mobile phones between 6 pm and 10 pm.
“I am of the view that imposing such restrictions is unreasonable and therefore the respondent shall readmit the petitioner in the hostel without any further delay,” Justice P V Asha said in her order on Thursday.
The judge struck down hostel rules enacted by the college preventing inmates of girls hostel from using mobile phones between 10 pm and 6 am.
The court 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.
As per university regulations as well as the University Grants Commission regulations, the college is bound to run a hostel to enable students reside near the institution in order to enable them to have sufficient time to concentrate on their studies, it said.
Therefore, hostel authorities are expected to enforce only those regulations for enforcing discipline. Enforcement of discipline shall not be by blocking ways and means of students to acquire knowledge, the judge said.
Hostel rules also prevent undergraduate students from using laptops in the hostel.
The court in its order, however, made it clear that the petitioner or any other inmate shall ensure that no disturbance was caused to others by usage of mobile phone in the hostel.