Government has to fund public education, declares Delhi HC
Galatta | 06:27 PM
Delhi: The protesters at the Jawaharlal Nehru University had a rousing victory on Friday after the Delhi High Court ruled that the students who were enrolling to the Winter Semester this year may do so as per the old hostel manual, within one week.
A petition filed by the JNUSU members through Advocates Abhik Chimni, Aman Shukla, Aarti and Mayank Goyal, claims that the new hostel manual resulted in increased hostel fee, affected rights of those in reserved categories in the allocation of hostel rooms, and reduced the representation of the JNUSU in the Inter Hostel Administration. under the new manual, the entire decision-making process was malafide, arbitrary and illegal, and adversely affected the student community.
The decision making did not involve students, which goes against Delhi High Court’s order passed in March 2019, which acknowledged the importance of student representation in welfare committees.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand noted that the new manual was introduced as per communications from the UGC and the Ministry of Human Resource Development. She also raised objections with regard to the election of the JNUSU and stated the matter was already pending before a grievance redressal cell as per the Lyndoh Committee guidelines.
The Court, however, clarified that this aspect will be examined at a later stage if the need arises.
Pinky Anand also opposed Justice Shakdher's suggestion to keep the increased hostel fee in abeyance for the time being in view of concerns regarding the payment of salaries to the employees of the University.
To this, the Bench noted that "Government cannot get out of education...it has to fund public education...responsibility to pay salaries cannot be on the students..."
Opposing the plea, Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand had submitted that 90% students had already registered as per the new Hostel Manual. To this, the Bench observed, "When you don't have a choice, what do you do?"
No late fee shall be imposed for late registration in the duration of this week. The Court has issued a notice to the JNU Administration and directed it to file a response within two weeks.
The Court has also clarified that for the purpose of room allocation, the reserved category students shall be dealt with as per the old manual. The matter will be heard next on February 28.