In a major move, the Allahabad High Court has removed restriction on undergraduate girls from using the central library of Aligarh Muslim University. The court has also sought a reply from the varsity’s Vice Chancellor Zameeruddin Shah who had recently stirred a hornet’s nest by not allowing girls into the main library saying that they would attract boys.
The court took up the matter after a Public Interest Litigation was on Thursday filed seeking a direction to the varsity authorities to allow entry of female students into the library. The PIL, filed by law intern and activist Deeksha Dwivedi, has alleged the AMU Vice-Chancellor Zameeruddin Shah was adopting a “discriminatory” attitude towards girl students by refusing to allow their entry into the library.
Under fire over the controversy, AMU had on Thursday informed the HRD Ministry that a request by undergraduate girls of the Women’s College for access to the central library was under consideration.
The HRD Ministry on November 11 had sought an explanation from the AMU VC over not allowing access to women undergraduates to the main library in the campus, with Minister Smriti Irani saying that it amounted to an “insult to daughters”.
Shah had said that there would be ‘four-times more boys in the library if girls were allowed in’ and that girl students cannot be allowed inside due to a space crunch in the campus.
Shah has defended his stance saying while the restriction on girls’ entry into the library has been in force for decades, the female students have been given the option of ordering books online.
The Vice-Chancellor has also pointed out that the distance between women’s college for undergraduates and the library was about three kilometres and the route was prone to incidents like eve-teasing and chain-snatching.