| East Hostel of Ravenshaw University in Cuttack. Telegraph picture |
Cuttack, Jan. 27: In an unexpected turn of events, Ravenshaw University authorities today challenged the Orissa High Court-constituted peace committee’s recommendation for continuance of East Hostel as a men’s hostel.
In an affidavit, the university said: “The report of the peace committee appears to be a balanced report but in certain areas, the said report is found to be non-practicable, particularly the issue relating to East Hostel.”
Deputy registrar Laxmi Kanta Mishra (51) filed the affidavit on behalf of the vice-chancellor and registrar. The seven-member committee, headed by Justice (Retired) A.K. Parichha, had submitted the report on January 20.
“Since the East Hostel has already been renovated as a boys’ hostel after spending huge amount of money, the same may be allowed to continue as gents’ hostel and the boarders of any other gents’ hostel as well as some students who are awaiting hostel accommodation may be shifted to East Hostel and the vacated hostel may be renovated as a girls’ hostel for occupation of girls students,” the committee had observed.
The university, however, countered this statement saying: “Had the peace committee visited the ladies’ hostel and discussed the matter with the girl students, probably they would not have suggested allotting the East Hostel to the boys”.
According to the affidavit, 1,220 girls had been adjusted against 871 beds. Application for hostel accommodation for 250 girls is pending. So not only East Hostel, but also two more hostels are required for the girls.
“The reason for giving the East Hostel in favour of the girls is that all the existing girls hostels are situated on the eastern side of the university and if the renovated East Hostel is made for the girls then an en-block can be made for the safety and security of the girl students,” the affidavit said.
“The deputy registrar claimed that the governor (chancellor) had accorded approval to the university’s proposal to earmark East Hostel for the girls. “Therefore, there is no illegality in the decision to allot the hostel, after renovation, to girl students”, he said.
The university further said that the grievance that since East Hostel, since its inception, has been earmarked for boys its status should not be changed is “neither reasonable nor feasible”. As the situation and requirement had changed considerably a “pragmatic approach” was taken by the university giving “paramount importance” to security and safety of the girl students, the deputy registrar said.
“The students cannot dictate according to their own decision,” the affidavit said citing the “dissenting opinion of Dr. Faizan Mustafa (vice-chancellor of National Law University), who was a member of the committee.
Dr. Faizan Mustafa said: “I may also put on record that the university has the prerogative of allocating any hostel to boys or girls and no student can or should have a claim to any particular hostel.”
Other members included two senior advocates Jagannath Patnaik and Kedar Nath Jena, two educationists Dr Faizan Mustafa (vice-chancellor of National Law University) and Dr. Manjushree Patnaik (member state legal services authority) and two student representatives of Ravenshaw University, Harishankar Rout (president) and Soubhagya Laxmi Kar (vice -president).