The Telangana High Court held that as Osmania has previously banned political events and Rahul Gandhi’s proposed interactive session with students on May 7 may have political overtones, it cannot be allowed.

Rahul Gandhi
news Court Thursday, May 05, 2022 - 08:49

The Telangana High Court on Wednesday, May 4, dismissed a petition challenging the Osmania University’s decision to refuse permission for Rahul Gandhi’s upcoming visit to varsity. The Telangana High Court held that since Osmania has previously banned political events and Rahul Gandhi’s proposed interactive session with students on May 7 may have political overtones, and so it cannot be allowed. 

The High Court was hearing a petition by Congress workers and others who had challenged the rejection of their application by Osmania University (OU) for permission to hold the interactive session. Following the OU authorities' decision, research scholar and Congress party spokesperson Manavatha Roy, who was one of the applicants for Gandhi's proposed meeting at the campus, along with some students of the varsity approached the High Court challenging rejection of their application. 

Upholding OU's decision, Justice B Vijayasen Reddy of the Telangana High Court dismissed the petition. The High Court said that the purpose of Rahul Gandhi’s visit “cannot be said to be anything related to academic deliberations, debates or discussion,” and that “grievance or problems of students or unemployed youth does not come within the ambit of academic deliberations or discussion.”

‘No doubt every meeting organized with a Member of Parliament cannot be understood or branded to be a political meeting or gathering. However, in the instant case, the purpose for which the meeting is proposed to be conducted, which according to the petitioners is to have face-to face interaction of students with Mr. Rahul Gandhi cannot be said to be without political overtones, in the absence of material to substantiate that the meeting is for some academic related activities,” the High Court said.

The High Court also said that just because political events have been held in the past, those instances cannot be grounds of violations of University rules. The High Court dismissed the petitions and asked the university not to allow such activities in the future that are not academic in nature. 

“Universities have to be exclusively designated as centres for education, imparting knowledge, training etc. Outsiders should not be permitted to enter the University. Any lapse on the part of University like permitting birthday celebrations of politicians, former students' leader would give impression of blas and selective discrimination,” the High Court said, 

Earlier, the varsity had denied permission for the event due to various reasons, including citing its Executive Council passing a resolution last year not to allow any political activity on the campus. The university had said that there is a scheduled election of some employee unions, some examinations for certain courses were underway, and a section of students are also preparing for recruitment tests recently announced by the state government.

Some student organisations of the university also represented to them opposing the meeting due to which there is a chance of law and order problem on the campus and in view of these, it is not feasible for the university to accord permission for the meeting, a letter written by OU Registrar to Roy, said.

The petitioners had submitted that Gandhi wants to meet the varsity's students as well as unemployed youth for the purpose of nation-building, and that there is no chance of any law and order problems. “It would purely be a meeting of students and interaction and that there were no political motives behind the proposed interaction,” they submitted.

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