High court ban on political activities on college campus has had little impact

The spotlight is back on the bloody blowback of campus politics and a high court ban hamstrung by political parties.

The recent Thrissur fast-track court verdict that gave life terms to four SFI activists for murder attempt has once again brought to the fore how the high court ban on campus politics has had little effect on the politicisation of the campus.

The high court had upheld the guidelines of a college management banning political activities on the campus. Banning strikes, sit-ins, gherao, go-slow and absenteeism on college campus, a division bench had held that they were weapons used by the labour force for wresting their demands under the labour laws and were not academic tools to be used against the teaching faculty or the management.

The high court while granting bail to a student involved in violence on a campus in Kochi had observed that a majority of the students liked peaceful atmosphere in educational institutions. But, a few people vitiate the atmosphere on campuses.

“Mutual trust and confidence vanish. Finer feelings disappear. Acts of violence occur every now and then. Hatred and ill will, the by-products of violence, become prominent. Even the political leaders do not mind student supporters developing hostility towards fellow students of rival political wings. While top leaders of various political parties dine together and socialise with each other without any personal acrimony, it is a pity that they do not encourage that healthy attitude to percolate down to the grassroots level,” the high court had added.

Kaleeswaram Raj, a lawyer and legal commentator, told The Hindu that the Thrissur court verdict was “a strong judicial message in clear terms to those who involve in criminal activities in the guise of campus politics”. It’s a message not only to the student community but to the politicians as well, he said.

Mr. Raj said: “The politicians on the campus should not be just a B-Team of the mainstream politicians, carrying all the vices of the latter. Their politics should be the politics of humanity, fraternity and brotherhood… Criminalisation of campus politics requires immediate and strict remedial measures like the one reflected in the present judgment.”

Human Rights Activist D.B. Binu said the Thrissur court judgment would be a blow to perpetrators of violent campus politics.

The high court verdict banning political activities on the campus had little effect on campus politics. The recent judgment would be a warning, he said.

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