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'You Can't Impose Moral Paternalism': Kerala HC Quashes College's Order to Expel Students For Affair

Striking down the decision, the court said choosing a life partner or a way of life was a discretion based on individual autonomy.

Neethu Reghukumar | CNN-News18

Updated:July 21, 2018, 4:20 PM IST
'You Can't Impose Moral Paternalism': Kerala HC Quashes College's Order to Expel Students For Affair
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Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala high court has quashed the decision of a college to expel two students who were in a relationship and had eloped.

The two BBA students of Thiruvananthapuram’s CHMM College for Advanced Studies eloped after their parents and college authorities objected to their relationship. The girl’s parents filed a missing complaint but later agreed to her marriage.

However, trouble began for the couple when the college authorities decided to expel them for “breach of discipline”. The two then approached the court since the girl wanted to continue her studies, while her husband sought to collect his academic records that were retained by the institution.

Announcing the verdict, Justice A Muhamed Mustaque said, “Love is blind and an innate humane instinct. It is all about individuals and their freedom. ‘Is love a freedom or fetter’ is the question that is raised in this writ petition in the context of imposition of academic discipline.”

He added, “The love affair and eloping termed as immoral amounting to a breach of discipline was based on the moral values of the persons in the management. It is a sin for some and not a sin for others. In law, it is the choice of freedom which is the essence of liberty.”

“One to have an affair or not to have an affair with another is a personal choice, and such choice is fundamental to the liberty guaranteed under the Constitution. Choosing a life partner or choosing a way of life is a discretion based on individual autonomy,” the court said, directing the college to allow the girl to study further and return the boy’s certificates.

The order added that the authorities “cannot assume the role to impose moral paternalism upon students notwithstanding their disagreement to such values of the authority”.

“In this case, except bald allegations that petitioners were found engrossed in an intimate relationship in the campus, there are absolutely no records or materials or evidence relied on to arrive at such finding,” it said.

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