Kerala HC: Dharna, satyagraha have no place in constitutional democracy, much less in academic institutions
Educational institutions are meant for imparting education and not politics, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Navaniti Prasad Singh said in an interim order on October 10.
KOCHI: Voicing its disapproval to political activities like dharna and strikes in educational institutions, the Kerala High Court has said if any student is found to be indulging in such activities, he would make himself liable to be "expelled and/or rusticated".
"Educational institutions are meant for imparting education and not politics," a division bench headed by Chief Justice Navaniti Prasad Singh said in an interim order on October 10.
The court observed that political activities like dharna, hunger strikes and other practices like "satyagraha" had no place in a constitutional democracy, much less in academic institutions.
"Anyone indulging in the said activities in an educational institution would make himself liable to be expelled and/or rusticated.
"Educational institutions are meant for imparting education and not politics. By their political ambition, the political parties cannot hold to ransom the educational institutions or right of the civilised students to receive education," the bench said.
It passed the interim order while considering a petition filed by the management of a college in Malappuram district against an ongoing students' agitation at the institute.
The bench said if called upon by the college authorities, the police would be under an obligation to assist them in maintaining peace and quiet and an orderly conduct of academics on the college premises.
The very fact that people resorted to dharnas or hunger strikes showed that they themselves were aware that their demands were not legal or legitimate, it added.
"...they use these coercive methods to achieve what they could not have achieved legally, for if it was otherwise, they ought to have peacefully come to court or move the statutory forums for redressal of their grievances," it said.
If any student was found to be resorting to or enforcing a dharna, strike or disruption of the academic atmosphere of a college, the principal or the authorities concerned would have a right to rusticate him, for these were no means to ventilate their grievances, the court added.
It also warned a student leader of the college, cautioning him to concentrate on his studies rather than indulging in politics on the college premises.
"If he is so inclined, he may withdraw from the college to continue with his political career, if he so chooses. But, the two cannot go together. The choice is his," it said.
The court also said all pickets, tents, stalls set up in and around the college campus or in its immediate vicinity for "facilitating a dharna, hunger strike etc. be forthwith removed by the police and the area be maintained free of such dharna, hunger strike or any such obstructions".
The court then listed the matter for October 16 for further hearing.