Published: 16th February 2022
#HijabRow: College Development Committees put welfare of students in the hands of political ideologies, claim petitioners
The CDCs have come under the scanner of the advocates after the Karnataka government's order that said students should follow uniforms prescribed by the committees
Making College Development Committees (CDC) the keeper of rights under Article 25 is an abdication of responsibility by the government. This was the argument that had been submitted by Senior Advocate Devadatt Kamat on February 15 in the hearing of petitions challenging the ban on hijabs in educational institutions in Karnataka.
The three-judge Bench of the Karnataka High Court was also told today, on February 16, by Senior Advocate Ravivarma Kumar that the CDC is a non-statutory body formed by a circular and not a government order. It is also an authority on academic standards, which has nothing to do with uniforms. He further added that under Section 143 of the Education Act of the state, authority can be delegated only to statutory bodies and since the CDC is not a statutory body, it does not have the authority to decide on uniforms. And when Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi asked if uniforms cannot be prescribed to maintain academic standards, the advocate replied that there is no relation between the two.
He also pointed out that the CDC consists of MLAs, making the elected representatives subordinates of the government. He added that it was a violation of the separation of powers and was unheard of in the Constitution. "The hallmark of our democracy is holding the government accountable by elected representatives. How can they be considered subordinates to the government?" asked Kumar.
Further taking the CDC to task, the advocate asked if the court would permit the welfare of the students to be handled by MLAs, who are affiliated with political parties and political ideologies. Advocate Kumar added that delegating such authority to a committee of MLAs would sound the death knell for democracy and separation of powers, and has asked the court to take judicial note of this matter.