The Kerala High Court on Wednesday pointed out that if the object of a curfew in women’s hostels in educational institutions is to ensure the safety of the inmates, then it should be the men who should be locked up.
A single bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran said that imposing curfew on women’s hostel will not serve any purpose and nothing can be gained from mistrusting women students.
“Lock up the men, I am saying (this) because they create trouble. Put a curfew for men after 8 p.m. Let ladies walk out,” he remarked.
He also said that Kerala is yet to be free from archaic norms, underscoring that older generation should not be allowed to take such decisions.
“How long can we keep our students locked up? Think, Kerala has not grown up and our students are required to be kept locked up. So be it, if that’s what society wants.Let not these decisions be taken by people who belong to a different generation. As the saying, every generation is like a new country, we do not have any right to keep laws on the new generation,” Justice Ramachandran observed.
He made the observation while considering a plea moved by five female MBBS students and office bearers of the College Union of the Medical College Kozhikode, who approached the court to challenge a Government Order(GO) issued in 2019 that prescribed a condition restricting the entry and exit of hostel inmates of higher education colleges after 9.30 p.m., without any reason.
The judge during hearing said that he is calling upon society to think about it and is opening the issue for discussion, if needed.
“When we shut down things like during the Covid times. There were not many crimes other than the crimes within houses. All the frustration was taken on women within the houses. Always the attack is on women. I understand that mental health went down. Open up the city, but make it safe. So the state has the issue to ensure at least the campuses are safe. Parents are scared ‘of’ their children, they think children will be spoilt if left out after 9.30,” he said.
He clarified that the court has no problem in imposing restrictions as Article 19 is not absolute. However, such restrictions must apply equally for all men and women and not one gender, he added.
“We keep rules for the hostel but relax it for men. That gives the impression that the girls are the problem for all concerned. That is all (that) I am saying. I am not accusing the government, the government is the reflection of society. When all parents want their daughters to be locked up, how can the government say no to that,” he asked.