After hearing a petition that objected to discriminatory hostel curfew timings for girls in Banaras Hindu University (BHU) the Supreme Court judge remarked, “Even my daughter is accompanied by my wife or myself when she returns home late.”
The plea claimed it was both a direct attack on individual freedom and discriminatory that the boys had a deadline of 10 PM whereas the girls had to report back by 8 pm.
However, Justice Mishra dodged these claims and stated that these kinds of restrictions were laid while keeping the comprehensive safety and security of girls in mind.
“Everything cannot be said in the court. These rules are for the safety of the girls,” the bench said.
“We should not interfere with the 8 PM restriction. We should have concerns about the safety of the girls too,” stated Justice Mishra, who headed the bench in the top court.
Appearing for a BHU male student, advocate Prashant Bhushan, however, contended that the restrictions were “draconian” in nature and that hostel rules reeked of bias and prejudice.
Bhushan expressed his ire on the preposterousness of not serving non-vegetarian food to girls. On this claim, the bench asked him if he could present a written order on this prohibition.
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“Is there a written order prohibiting non-vegetarian food in girl’s hostel? If there is none, on what basis we will pass any order on this?” the Court questioned Bhushan.
Justice Mishra further stated that it would be both logical and easier if Bhushan directly represented the girl students who were discontented by the said ruled in the hostel premises.
“Let girl students file a petition. If you are willing to represent them, you should do it,” he told Bhushan.
After the court bluntly refused to prod in the hostel regulations it also ordained that, “if any girl wants to file an application for redressal of her grievances, BHU authority should consider it objectively.”
The discriminatory nature of these rules had triggered protests at the BHU campus in 2016 and prompted some students to move the top court to air their grievances.
The lawyer representing the university opposed Bhushan’s contention and said that the rules could be modified under unique circumstances. She also brought to light that the students at BHU could contact the college authorities anytime if they felt dissatisfied with any policy.
Concurring with the university’s claim, the bench asked the students to abide by these suggestions and also reminded them of their liberty to approach the court again if their problems still persisted.