Kerala High Court bans agitations on campus

Shaju Philip
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Student wings of political parties have taken exception to the court ruling. (File photo)

Acting on a bunch of petitions by managements of colleges and schools, the Kerala High Court on Wednesday banned all forms of agitations on campus.

Delivering the verdict, a bench of Justice P B Suresh Kumar said educational institutions are meant for academic- related activities and not protests and no one has the right to violate fundamental rights of other students. “Educational institutions can be made a venue for peaceful discussions,’’ said the court.

The judgment was delivered on a batch of petitions filed by various college and school managements over the past three years, some of them seeking police protection from agitators and others seeking orders to implement the court’s earlier order banning campus politics.

The court on Wednesday observed that students should not be asked to boycott classes. It also said agitations are not permissible on the campus of a school or college. Right to education is a fundamental right and nobody has the right to violate that right, the court said. Campuses are venues for constructive debates and there should not be any form of agitation that affects the academic atmosphere on campuses, it added.

Student wings of political parties have taken exception to the court ruling.

SFI, the students’ wing of the ruling CPM, said in a statement that the verdict infringes upon fundamental rights. Campus politics has a larger role in socialising students and instilling in them the values of democracy and secularism, it said. Presence of student organisations has become imperative at a time when their right to education is often violated by the approach of managements or governments, said SFI state secretary K M Sachin Dev.

In fact, the CPM-led government in Kerala has initiated a process to allow politics on campus even though the high court prohibited campus politics in 2017. In November last year, the cabinet ratified a draft Bill regarding formation of student unions in all educational institutions, including self-financing colleges. The proposed legislation envisages a grievance cell in all campuses to address students’ issues. The government last month informed the Assembly that the new law would be framed only after factoring in the court verdicts against campus politics.