Women cannot be denied chance to resume course due to leave taken for childbirth: HC

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Kannur: The Kerala High Court has ruled that women should not be denied opportunity to resume their course just because they had to halt studies in the middle due to pregnancy or childbirth.

The judgement was passed by Justice Anu Shivaraman on a petition filed by K Ansiyabi, a B.A. Arabic student of Sir Syed college Taliparamba affiliated to Kannur University.

Ansiyabi joined the college in June 2014. She got married within a few months. Though she had completed the third semester, she could not attend the fourth semester classes due to pregnancy and childbirth. She delivered her child on March 16, 2016.

Subsequently, she applied for re-admission in the fourth semester in January 2017. The application of the petitioner was rejected by the Principal stating that re-admission cannot be granted to students who are yet to clear papers in the former semester.

Ansiyabi, through an RTI document, learnt that there is no such regulation in the University. She moved the High Court with the reply received under the RTI. The University counsel told the court that re-admission cannot be allowed after one month from the re-opening of the college for the semester, as per the regulations.

In the earlier ruling, the court had said that it cannot issue a direction to provide re-admission to a candidate contrary to the provision contained in the regulation. However, it had made it clear that the petitioner can apply for re-admission in accordance with the regulations in the next batch.

Adhering to the court’s advice, Ansiyabi applied for re-admission later. However, the college again rejected her application. She once again approached the High Court.

This time, the ruling came in favour of Ansiyabi. Justice Anu Shivaraman held that the decision of the College’s Academic Council not to give re-admission to students who have not passed the exams of the previous semester, cannot be applied in the case of students who had to discontinue studies due to pregnancy and childbirth.

In its judgement, the High Court made it clear that it is notable that the petitioner wants to continue her education even after becoming a mother. When women, especially those from the minority community, express their willingness to continue education even amidst various other issues, the authorities should acknowledge it.

Following the HC order, the College re-admitted Ansiyabi in the four semester.

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