Do not insist that students belonging to minority communities pay fee upfront: HC

The Karnataka High Court on Thursday directed the University of Mysore to accept examination fee from students belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, backward classes and minority communities under the old system.

The direction comes as a relief to thousands of students who were being asked by educational institutions to pay the fee upfront and claim reimbursement as per the June 23 order of the Social Welfare Department.

A Vacation Bench, comprising Justice Abdul Nazeer and B.S. Indrakala, passed the interim order on a public interest writ petition filed by the Mysore Nagarika Vidyarthi Kriya Samiti challenging the June 23 order.

The petitioner stated that since 1982, students belonging to the weaker sections of society did not pay any examination fee, which the government reimbursed to the institution/ university.

They were only paying around Rs. 160 towards marks card fee.

‘Ambiguous’

In the June 23 order, the department divided the students as coming under the departments of Social Welfare and Minority Welfare. The order was ambiguous as in some parts it required students to pay the fee upfront and in some other parts it required students not to pay any fee, the petitioner said. It was also silent about the fee to be paid by students belonging to minority communities, including Muslims, Christians, Jains and Sikhs, the petitioner added.

Petitioner’s counsel N.P. Amrutesh sought a direction from the court to direct the respondents not to insist on upfront payment of examination fee.

Order to issue notices

The same Bench also ordered issue of notices to the State government and the Home Department on a public interest writ petition seeking directions for strict, speedy and comprehensive investigation into cases of rape against women.

Advocate and petitioner M.K. Vijaya Kumar drew the attention of the court to the fact that as many as eight rape cases, including two gang rapes, were reported from various parts of the State between October 14 and 20. He said the increasing cases of rape indicated failure of the police to investigate the cases properly and bring the guilty to book.

He said during 2001, Karnataka witnessed 293 rape cases and the numbers increased to 636 in 2011, as per reports of the National Crime Records Bureau. More than 26 per cent of rape cases were reported from Bangalore, he pointed out.

Political interference and frequent transfers of investigating police officers, are some of the reasons for the total failure of the police to protect the life and property of citizens, the petitioner alleged. The Indian Penal Code does not prescribe punishment for gang rape.

Hearing deferred

The Bench deferred hearing on a public interest writ petition that sought a direction to the State government to restart the probe by Justice B. Padmaraj Commission of Inquiry set up by the B.S. Yeddyurappa government to inquire into denotification of Bangalore Development Authority lands.

Advocate-petitioner Mr. Amrutesh averred in his petition that the State government’s move not to extend the commission’s term was like “killing its own baby”. The government had on November 22 constituted the commission to inquire into cases of illegal allotment and denotification of lands starting from January 1, 1995 by the BDA.

Bail denied

Vacation judge B.V. Pinto rejected an application for bail by Akbar, who was accused of pushing a 19-year-old girl from the moving Yeshwantpur–Mysore Express near Maddur in July this year.

The order was passed after the government pleader informed the court that the accused was denied bail by the Sessions court after noticing that he was involved in other criminal cases, including forest offences. Akbar is the second accused in the case.

Exempted

Mr. Justice Pinto exempted the former Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda and his wife, Datty, from personal appearance before the Lokayukta court for one day on October 31.

The special Lokayukta court had sought their personal appearance with regard to a private complaint on alleged illegal construction on government land and allotment of G category site by the BDA in Bangalore. Complainant K. Nagalaxmi Bai had alleged that Ms. Datty had purchased a ‘gomala’ land in Bagalur village and subsequently constructed a two-floor building without licence or conversion of the land.