Kerala High Court: A Division bench comprising of Navaniti Prasad Singh, CJI and Raja Vijay Raghavan, J, heard a contempt petition filed against the respondents. The High Court, in a series of decisions, has held that the Police “would be duty bound to give all assistance” in matters involving political matters so that activities like dharnas and vandalism is put under control timely.
Relying on cases like Sojan Francis v. Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, 2003 SCC OnLine Ker 176 and S.N.M. College v. S.I. of Police, 2006 SCC OnLine Ker 573, the Court stated that despite guidelines being issued by the court in Sojan Francis’ case with respect to prohibition of political activities in college campuses, they are still not being followed. It was reiterated that since “educational institutions cannot be turned into a political battlefield” it is the duty of the police to act as and when a complaint is received to keep such activities away from college premises.
In the present case, the matter was related to condoning shortage of attendance beyond permissible limit due to which, the students vandalized the Principal’s office, gheraoed him and were also joined by activists and outsiders. The Police arrived but allegedly, did not act for some time. Moreover, even after receiving the complaint, no action had been taken against the accused students. The Court observed that there was no reason why the Police could not go to the residence of the students and arrest them to be released on bail.
The Court held that the Police failed to act timely and in proper manner and also stated that it expected the respondents to ensure compliance of Court orders in the future. [Dr. Anthony Thomas v. V.M. Muhammed Rafique, 2017 SCC OnLine Ker 18563, decided on 19.10.2017]