NEW DELHI — On a petition filed by the mothers of Payal Tadvi and Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide over alleged caste-based bias, the Supreme Court if India has issued a notice to the centre on Friday. The petition has sought a direction to put an end to discriminatory practices in university campuses.
While Vemula, a Ph.D scholar at Hyderabad Central University had committed suicide on January 17, 2016, following alleged caste bias, Tadvi, a tribal student at TN Topiwala National Medical College, committed suicide on May 22 this year due to alleged caste-based discrimination by three doctors in her college.
A Bench of Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Ajay Rastogi agreed to examine the plea and has asked the Centre to file a response within four weeks on the plea seeking direction for strict compliance of the University Grants Commission (UGC) regulation of 2012 which restricts such discrimination, reports IANS.
The court was hearing a plea filed by Abeda Salim Tadvi and Radhika Vemula, mothers of Payal Tadvi and Rohit Vemula, respectively.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for both the mothers, sought a direction for the strict compliance of the UGC regulation of 2012, which restricts any kind of discrimination on campus.
Pointing to the rampant caste-based discrimination in higher education institutions, the petition said: “There have been several incidents of caste-based discrimination against members of the SC and ST community, which reflects flagrant non-compliance with the existing norms and regulations. These incidents are violative of the fundamental rights to equality, against discrimination, equal opportunity, the abolition of untouchability and right to life.”
Radhika Vemula has vowed to fight the forces responsible for her son’s death.
The petition sought directions to all universities, including deemed ones and higher education institutions (HEIs), to ensure compliance with the UGC Equity Regulations in letter and in spirit.
The mothers of both the students sought directions to universities and HEIs to regularly organise compulsory orientation courses, workshops and training for staff, administrators and students to create separate modules for sensitisation on caste.
“The internal complaints mechanism should include members of the SC, ST communities and independent representatives from NGOs or social activists to ensure objectivity and impartiality in the process and any such direction that the court may issue,” they said.
The plea has also asked for all universities to take strong disciplinary action against victimisation of students or staff who file complaints alleging caste-based discrimination and to take necessary steps in the nature of interim reliefs that restrain the HEI from creating a hostile environment against students who file such complaints.
Besides these directions, the petition has sought various steps to ensure end of caste-based discrimination at the campuses.
(With agency inputs)