The Madras High Court found a 'pragmatic solution' to deal with students who were expelled from a college for attending a lecture in a drunken state.
The Court did not want to spoil their career for a mistake committed due to youthful indiscretion. At the same time, the Court wanted to send them a message. In a balancing act, the Court therefore directed them to do community service and propagate anti-liquor messages in order to continue their course in the college.
Justice R Suresh Kumar directed "Students to visit Kamaraj Memorial, at Virudhunagar Town of Virudhunagar District, the birth place (house) of K.Kamaraj, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, on Independence Day, to clean the memorial house and assist visitors. For two hours in evening they were directed to carry two placards each, with slogans in 'Tamil' opposing the intoxication or using of alcohol or liqueur, by persons, especially, students, and demonstrate the same in front of the memorial by standing on one side of the street/road enabling the onlookers or passerby to watch these students/petitioners."
A teaching staff of the college was directed to verify the exercise and submit a report to the principal of the college. If the action is found satisfactory the college was told to permit the students to continue their course, B.Sc., (Computer Science) from fifth semester on wards.
On January 7, a Lecturer had found the students to be under influence of alcohol. On such enquiry, they had admitted their action. An enquiry was conducted by the Disciplinary Committee, where, it was unanimously resolved to recommend to the College Management to issue Transfer Certificates to all students. In review of the decision, college allowed students to appear for fourth semester exams and resolved to issue the transfer certificate, later.
However, when the academic year 2019-20 started from in June, students surprisingly received communication from College Management stating that, they shall pay the College fee for the year 2019-20. The Principal claimed in court that it was inadvertently issued, without taking into consideration the decision of disciplinary committee.
The bench said "In the case in hand, petitioners are at their very young age between 19 and 21 and they have completed two years of their U.G. Degree course and still one more year is left. At this juncture, if their education is hindered, the full career of the students would get affected. Moreover, as per the averments made by these petitioners in the affidavit, they belong to very humble and simple families, as the parents of these petitioners, according to their claim, are the coolies. Therefore, the hard earned money of the parents of the petitioners had been spent for all these years, as that only made these petitioners to reach the level of College students, where also, they completed 2/3rd of their U.G.degree. At this juncture, if the students' education is affected, because of their objectionable act, which had taken place on 07.01.2019, there may be a chance that, the career of these students would also get affected, if the punishment imposed by the fourth respondent College is inflicted and implemented against the petitioners. Hence, this Court wants to find a pragmatic solution to the issue to meet the ends of justice."
The court also reminded the students of what "Saint Thiruvalluvar in his World renowned Literary work "Thirukkural", speaks about the persons, who consume alcohol in the Chapter called "Kallunnamai". (They shall not be respected, nor feared and they shall lose their glory – they who are in love with alcohol).