The Allahabad high court issued a notice to Aligarh Muslim University's vice-chancellor and registrar on a PIL alleging that they had adopted a discriminatory attitude while denying girl students access to AMU's main library .
The court said that any effort to regulate the problem of overcrowding in the library must be on a gender-neutral basis as its breach would go against the right to equality as provided in the Constitution.
Hearing a PIL filed by Deeksha Dwivedi and three other AMU law students, a division bench of Chief Justice Dr Dhananaya Yeshwant Chandrachud and Justice Pradeep Kumar Singh Baghel fixedNovember 24 as the next date of hearing.
The petitioners's counsel, Smriti Kartikeya, said the AMU VC had adopted a discriminatory attitude towards undergraduate girl students by saying there would be four times more boys in the university's Maulana Azad Library if girl students were allowed entry .
A breach of gender neutrality involves an infraction of constitutional norms in relation to the guarantees of equality under Article 14 and of gender identity under Article 15 of the Constitution.
Article 15 deals with the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
The VC had reportedly also said the presence of girls in the library would breed indiscipline and disturb boys' concentration.
At the oath-taking ceremony of the varsity's students union AMUSU , Shah, who was at the centre of a storm triggered by his remark that the Maulana Azad Library would remain out of bounds for undergraduate girl students as it was cramped for space, made the announcement and spoke of its implementation.
Back in the campus, girl students of the Women's College were “happy“ at the HC order but were cautious in their interactions with TOI.
Student after student asked not to be named while being quoted,one of them said:If we have hope of entering Maulana Azad Library , this is great news. If not, at least we should have an office of the library within our campus, so we can make demands for books that will be delivered to us in 24 hours.