The Supreme Court has agreed to look into the validity of certain “gender discriminatory” rules and regulations framed by the Mahila Maha Vidyalaya women’s hostel under the Banaras Hindu University.
Noted 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 said the hostel does not allow girls to go out of hostel, even in the campus, after 8 pm, no telephone calls for girls after 10 pm, girls cannot wear clothes of their choice. They cannot wear shorts in their mess, girl students not allowed access to free wi-fi and internet in their hostel rooms. However there are no such restrictions on male students.
Girls also cannot eat non-vegetarian food in the campus, while boys can eat whatever they want.
Girls can't participate in protests, demonstrations or even political debates. These restrictions do not apply on boys.
“The petitioners submit that there have been various instances of gender-based discrimination in the rules 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 discriminatory rules”, Bhushan told the bench.
“Direct the respondents to change MVV hostel guidelines to bring them at par with the boys hostel guidelines”, Said one of the prayers.
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:
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 claimed that the action was taken by the varsity to supress their demands that the cyber library in the campus be opened 24X7, especially during examination time.
The students had staged a hunger-strike for their demand and due to that, the university administration had suspended them.