Kerala High Court: Dismissing a petition which challenged the order of dismissal of the petitioner from the college on the allegation of eloping and living with her classmate, the Bench of Vinod Chandran, J. held that the management of the college had rightly raised the grounds of serious breach of discipline and that this is not a mere case of falling in love; but two students taking the drastic step of eloping and living together without even contracting a marriage.

The petititoner (name withheld), a 4th semester student of of Mar Thoma College of Science and Technology, Chadayamangalam was removed from the college on the ground that she had eloped with a classmate and was staying in a lodge from where they were apprehended by the police andhanded over to their parents. The college management removed them from the college after initiating disciplinary action and giving them a hearing. The disciplinary committee found that it was an unprecedented incident and the discipline of the education institution itself is affected. The committee and the management were also concerned with the fact that the boy who eloped with the petitioner was not of marriageable age.

The petitioner conteded that she could only be accused of having fallen in love with one of her collegemates and there cannot be a termination order on that basis, especially considering the fact that she is in the fourth semester of her course, having a duration of six semesters and considering her  excellent academic record.

The Court held that “This is not a mere case of falling in love; but two students taking the drastic step of eloping and living together without even contracting a marriage. As consenting adults they could definitely act according to their volition. But, here they could not have even legally entered into a marriage. When taking such drastic step for the sake of love, as adults they should also be ready to face the consequences. The management’s concern of setting an example to the other students and ensuring maintenance of discipline in the educational institution cannot be easily brushed aside.”

The Court held that “the impulsive act of the petitioner has resulted in drastic consequences. Having gone through the report of the five-member committee as also the order of the Principal and also noticing the fact that the petitioner along with a classmate had eloped and had been residing elsewhere from where they were apprehended by the police, this Court is not inclined to exercise discretion in favour of the petitioner to interfere with the orders passed by the management.” [X   v.  University of Kerala,2016 SCC OnLine Ker 9112, decided on June 15, 2016]

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