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Calcutta High Court Directs Visva Bharati University To Reopen Hostels In Presence Of Police, Student Representatives

Aaratrika Bhaumik
9 March 2022 10:01 AM GMT
Calcutta High Court Directs Visva Bharati University To Reopen Hostels In Presence Of Police, Student Representatives
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The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed the Visva-Bharati University authorities to immediately open hostels for its students. The Court ordered that the police should break open the locks in hostel rooms in the presence of two student representatives and other university officials. The direction was issued amid the ongoing protests by more than 200 students inside the University...

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed the Visva-Bharati University authorities to immediately open hostels for its students. The Court ordered that the police should break open the locks in hostel rooms in the presence of two student representatives and other university officials. 

The direction was issued amid the ongoing protests by more than 200 students inside the University campus demanding the immediate reopening of hostels and the conduct of online examinations.

Justice Rajasekhar Mantha had earlier sought a report from the concerned police authorities while University's concerns over obstruction of its daily functioning by the agitating students. 

On Tuesday, the Court was apprised by the counsel appearing for the University that a large number of hostel rooms have been locked up by senior students with their belongings inside. It was further submitted that the University has already formed a Committee to inspect the hostels. 

Opining that the locks in the hostel rooms should be broken in the presence of student representatives, police personnel and university authorities, the Court directed, 

"The students shall nominate two representatives to such committee. The presence of the students, police and the committee members is necessary while breaking open locks of some hostel rooms."

The Court further ordered that the Officer-in-Charge, Santiniketan Police Station should also depute two constables for the aforesaid purpose. It was also directed that belongings inside the rooms should be inventoried and kept in a separate place.

"The rooms shall then be made ready for the students. Priority for occupation shall be given to students in terms of examination schedule i.e. those students who have examinations coming immediately shall be given priority over those students whose examinations are scheduled later", the Court specified further. 

The Santiniketan Police was also directed to ensure that no outsiders remain in the University or enter the campus. The police authorities were also ordered to conduct periodical and surprise inspection at their discretion at any point of time.

The Court took into consideration that semester examinations of the University are starting from March 11, 2022 and that a large number of students are loitering in the University campus since they have not been allotted hostel rooms.

During the proceedings, the Court also took on record the report filed by the Superintendent of Police, Birbhum, Nagendra Nath Tripathi. The Court was informed that the restrained Registrar and other officials have been freed and the University has been offered every necessary assistance in ensuring that the administration is able to function.

In so far as outsiders are concerned, it was submitted that two particular gates of the University are manned by their own security staff, who verify identity cards before letting people inside the campus. In this regard, Justice Mantha directed that the University authorities shall be entitled to approach the Santiniketan Police for any further assistance, in securing the gates.

The Court was further apprised by the counsel appearing for the University that the officials are still apprehensive above entering the central administrative building in view of demonstrations being carried out by the students.

Taking cognisance of the grievance raised, the Court further directed, "The Officer-in-Charge, Santiniketan Police Station, shall render all necessary assistance to the administration, in the event of any further obstruction."

The matter has been listed for further hearing after 2 weeks

Case Title: Visva Bharati and Anr v. State of West Bengal and Ors

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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