LUCKNOW: In the wake of increasing instances of student delinquency on campuses, especially Central universities in UP, the Allahabad High Court directed two main central universities -- Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) -- to come up with a “reform, self-development and rehabilitation” programme for students facing disciplinary action for misconduct to bring them back to mainstream.
The court’s directives came while quashing the suspension order of the BHU administration against Anant Narayan Mishra, a student, penalised for allegedly assaulting an assistant professor of sociology department on January 28, this year.
A single-judge bench of Justice Ajai Bhanot, while hearing the case on Wednesday, observed that the ordinances providing for punishment for deviant conduct need to be duly supported by a legal framework for structured reform, self-development and rehabilitation programme.
“This environment will accord social recognition to the need for reform of delinquent students. The degrading effect of punishment will be ameliorated. The dialogue will end isolation, reform will reinstate self-worth and education will enhance self-esteem,” said the 67-page judgment delivered by the judge.
“The law shall take its course, unhindered by any observation made in this judgment,” he said. However, he quashed the suspension order finding it to be too severe. But Justice Bhanot made it clear that the inquiry against the student, who is also named in an FIR, would continue.
Notably, a group of students had assaulted the professor for allegedly making objectionable comments on social media against women students. While the professor was booked by Varanasi’s Lanka police for criminal intimidation, stalking and intent to outrage modesty, he had filed a counter FIR against the students for assault, criminal conspiracy and other allegations under sections of SC/ST Act.
In his judgment, Justice Bhanot observed: “Structured reform, self-development and rehabilitation programme and therapeutic support, within a legal framework, will create an enabling environment in the universities, to realize the fundamental rights of human dignity, flowing from Article 21 of the Constitution of India (right to life and personal liberty).”
The judge gave six month’s time which should not be extended beyond a year to the universities to come up with reform and rehab programme to help out the delinquent students on campus.
Justice Bhanot also directed the secretary of human resources development, Government of India, and the University Grants Commission (UGC) to provide necessary aid and support to these universities.