[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Allahabad High Court has banned all forms of public protests at the main gate of the Administrative Block of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and within a 100 metre radius of the said Block as well as the official Vice-Chancellor’s residence within the campus. The university authorities have also been permitted to install close circuit televisions to monitor these areas.
On a petition filed by AMU, a division bench, comprising Justices Shashi Kant Gupta and Pankaj Bhatia ordered the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Aligarh District to ensure that no person was allowed to convene, hold, attend, join or address or take part in any procession or join any kind of Dharna-Pradarshan and rally within those specified areas.
The High Court also issued a direction to AMU to earmark an area where students could congregate to protest peacefully, after consultations with the district administration.
According to the university counsel, PhD aspirants, who could not qualify for the admission test had blocked the main entrance of the administrative gate of the university, obstructing the ingress and egress of employees and officials to the administrative building. The counsel claimed it had become impossible for the administrative authorities to carry out their day-to-day functioning as a result of the ongoing protest.
Inaction by district administration, alleges AMU
Accusing the district administration of inaction in dispersing the protesting PhD aspirants, the AMU counsel claimed that the authorities’ lukewarm attitude towards the protest suggested that their conduct was not bonafide.
Despite meeting the District Magistrate and filing a representation in this regard, no action had been taken to restrain the protestors from indulging in, what they termed, illegal activities inside the university premises. The university had approached the court because the atmosphere on campus had become vitiated, the AMU counsel submitted.
The state government, for its part, claimed before the court that the protests were lawful and had been peaceful and there was no question of any deterioration in law and order.
Rejecting the government’s contention, the high court said a university as reputable as AMU would not have approached the court for appropriate directions, unless there had been an acute problem.
The atmosphere at the university cannot be allowed to be vitiated. The district authorities are under an obligation to assist the university authorities in maintaining law and order and tranquillity on campus, which appears to be going out of control, paralysing its day-to-day functioning, the high court said.