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Kerala High Court bans all forms of agitations in schools, colleges

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Kerala High Court bans all forms of agitations in schools, colleges

What to study?
For Prelims: Key observations made by the Court.
For Mains: Implications and criticisms of the judgment.

Context: The Kerala High Court has ruled that strikes, rallies and gheraos that affect regular classes should not be held on the campuses of schools and colleges.

Observations made by the Court:

  1. Those who are not participating in the strike have every right to attend their classes and no one should force them to participate in agitations that affect smooth conduct of classes.
  2. Academic institutions are only meant for studies and they should not be venues for strikes and protests.
  3. Nobody has the right to override a student’s right to study and action can be against those who indulge in strikes, rallies and gheraos that affect regular classes.
  4. Campuses can have peaceful discussions and sharing of thoughts in a peaceful manner.
  5. Students and others who force students to take part in the strike can be dealt with the law as it was the infringement of the basic right of the student.

Background:

The important verdict came in the wake of some private schools in Pathanamthitta moving the court with a plea to restrain student politics. Though the court had banned politics on the campus earlier also it was not implemented properly and students were suffering due to frequent disruptions of classes during strikes, they contended.

Measures:

  1. If such incidents take place in schools, the authorities concerned, including the district educational officer, can take action against erring students. They can even summon the police to restore the peace in the campus.
  2. Similar measures should be taken on the college campuses as well. But, campuses can have peaceful discussions and sharing of thoughts on any issue. This, however, should not be done by causing inconvenience to students or lead to a strike.

Earlier judgments:

The HC also cited the long list of court verdicts on the issue over the years.

  1. An earlier judgment had granted managements the authority to ban politics in their respective campuses.
  2. Another court order also stated that students should not be forcefully made to boycott classes.
  3. The court had also ruled earlier that police should give protection if the authorities ask for it.
  4. In the ‘Vijayakumar’ case, the court ruled that if criminal activities take place in college premises, police has the right to take action and enter campus without permission.

Criticisms:

The HC verdict has evoked sharp reactions from many student outfits and political parties which they said would affect students’ rights and their plan to carry out peaceful protests.

Sources: the Hindu.