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Satyagraha Has No Place in Democracy, Expel those Who Protest in Colleges: Kerala High Court

In an interim order, a Kerala High Court Division bench, while hearing a petition filed by Ponnani MES College Principal, has stated that police can intervene in matters and management can rusticate students who go on strike.

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Updated:October 13, 2017, 3:48 PM IST
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Satyagraha Has No Place in Democracy, Expel those Who Protest in Colleges: Kerala High Court
Representative image (PTI)
Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala High Court in an interim order has marked a distinction between civilised students and uncivilised students, saying people who resort to “hunger strikes or dharnas are aware of the fact that their demands are not legitimate”.

The court, while delivering an interim order on a petition filed by Ponnani MES College principal, has stated that police can intervene in such matters and the management can rusticate students who go on strike.

Justice Navaniti Prasad Singh and Justice Raja Vijayraghavan V who passed the interim order said, “Political parties cannot hold to ransom the educational institutions or the right of the civilised students to receive education.”

The court relied on photographs submitted and stated that it “showed students erected a shed along the boundary of the college with a banner of a political party with loudspeakers”.

The court has criticised the role of the police and has stated that they should not have allowed such demonstrations in and around the campus. “Police must control law and order and cannot allow such pickets to come up on public property,” said Justice Navaniti Prasad Singh.

The court came down heavily on the student body and said practices such as Satyagraha and dharnas having no place in democracy.

“Political activities like dharnas, hunger strikes and other practices like satyagraha have no place in a constitutional democracy, much less in academic institutions. Anyone indulging in any such activities in an educational institution would make himself liable to be expelled or rusticated,” the interim order said.

While quoting BR Ambedkar, the court stated that “if we wish to maintain democracy and not merely in form, then we must hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives.”

The court has also stated that opting for hunger strike or dharna is an acceptance by the participant that their demand is not legitimate and hence ‘coercive’ methods are being opted for.

“The very fact that people resort to dharna/hunger strike shows that they themselves are aware that their demands are not legitimate and they use coercive methods to achieve what they could not have achieved legally,” said the verdict.
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