The Supreme Court has agreed to front into the robustness of certain “gender discriminatory” rules and rules set up by the Mahila Maha Vidyalaya women’s hostel under the Banaras Hindu University.oted advocate and rights activist Prashant Bhushan assisted by lawyer Neha Rathi who appeared for some students brought the issue to the attention of the bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
They sounded out the hostel does not permit young women to get out of the hostel, even in the campus, after 8 pm, no telephone calls for girls after 10 pm, girls cannot wear clothes of their option. They cannot wear shorts in their mess, girl students not allowed access.
Young women also cannot eat non-vegetarian food in the campus, while boys can consume whatever they require.
Girls can’t participate in protests, demonstrations or even political debates. These limitations do not apply to boys.
“The petitioners state that in that respect have been several cases of gender-based discrimination in the conventions and regulations at the Mahila Maha Vidyalaya (MVV) Hostel. A girl student is asked to leave the MVV Hostel if found to be flouting any of these.”
“Direct the respondents to change MVV hostel guidelines to fetch them at par with the boys hostel guidelines”, stated one of the petitions.
A brief description of the discrimination being faced by girl students at the BHU campus and girls hostel as stated in the petition is as follows:
- Girl students are not permitted to give the hostel premises after 8 pm even to run to the library or to attend a course of study at the BHU campus. Others hostels allow girl students to be out till 10 pm. This formula is still applicable to girl students who may.
- Girl students are not permitted to install Wi-Fi/LAN to access cyberspace in their hotel rooms in MVV Hostel.
- As per the hostel rules, male children are allowed to hold their fathers stay over, whereas in the girls hostel no parent is permitted to remain with the scholar. They cannot yet bring any friend, a day-scholar, etc. in their hostel room whereas there are no such.
- Girls hostel does not serve non vegetarian food, whereas boys hostel is served non-vegetarian food (menu of both boys and girls hostel attached in the mail).
- As per the girls hostel guidelines, no students are allowed to participate in any form of Dharma, protest and agitation. No such regulations exist for male children.
It is to be noted that on May 4, 2017 the court had revoked the suspension of eight students of the university and directed its administration to conduct special examinations for them which they had missed due to the suspension.
Bhushan and Rathi, had exacted that the action was brought by the varsity to suppress their demands that the cyber library in the campus be opened 24X7, especially during exam time.
The students had staged a hunger-strike for their demand and due to that, the university administration had suspended them.
By: Manavi Joshi