Delhi HC orders free hostel accommodation for visually impaired JNU student

New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS): The Delhi High Court on Monday directed Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to provide free hostel accommodation and other entitlements to visually impaired student, Sanjeev Kumar Mishra, until the completion of his master's degree.

Earlier, the court had directed the university to allow Mishra to stay in a campus guest house without any charges on temporary basis and had granted it a final opportunity to respond to the petition.

Justice C Hari Shankar, on Monday, issued the order citing rules that purportedly disallowed hostel accommodation for students pursuing a second post-graduate course.

The court said that Mishra, as a differently-abled student, is entitled to all facilities mandated by law and university policies. It mandated JNU to ensure Mishra's accommodation and other necessary provisions within a week of the judgement's pronouncement.

The court also rebuked JNU's defence for relying on Mishra's residential address distance from the campus, considering his 100 per cent visual impairment.

Moreover, the court dismissed JNU's argument, saying that the denial of hostel accommodation based on enrollment in a second master’s degree course was unjustifiable, especially without considering individual students' physical disabilities.

Advocate Rahul Bajaj, representing Mishra, argued against the blanket application of rules, stressing the need to consider students' unique circumstances, particularly regarding physical disabilities. JNU's counsel defended the decision citing the university's Hostel Manual, which allegedly excluded students with prior qualifications from outside Delhi, contradicting Mishra's eligibility for hostel accommodation.

However, the court dismissed this arguement, affirming Mishra's entitlement to accommodation, regardless of previous qualifications, citing equal treatment for all students.

Mishra's counsel had earlier revealed that although interim accommodation was provided as per the court's prior order, Mishra was being charged Rs 100 per day, exceeding his financial means. At this, the high court had, on January 22, directed the university to allow the student to stay in the room provided without any fees until the next date of hearing.

Earlier, on January 4, JNU's counsel had offered temporary accommodation for Mishra, and the court had said that this interim arrangement was solely to prevent the petitioner from enduring ongoing hardship.

Now, the court has listed the case for further hearing and disposal on February 12, directing both parties to submit their written submissions.



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Title: Delhi HC orders free hostel accommodation for visually impaired JNU student

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