Posting security on university campuses unhealthy: Apex court

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday disapproved of stationing security personnel and paramilitary forces in campuses of educational institutions.

‘It’s not a healthy sign to keep paramilitary forces permanently inside the campuses,’ observed a bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, while hearing a lawsuit against the Andhra Pradesh High Court ruling early this week ordering the state government to pull out battalions of Rapid Action Forces and various other paramilitary forces stationed in the Osmania University campus.

The bench, which also included Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justice Aftab Alam, was hearing a plea by the state government for an early hearing of its lawsuit for suspension of the high court order.

‘Osmania is the hotbed of Telangana movement and pulling out the security personnel from there would be detrimental for the law and order situation in the state,’ contended Mukul Rohatgi, counsel for the Andhra Pradesh government, while apprising the bench of the state high court’s order for removal of the paramilitary forces.

The state doesn’t have enough civil police of its own and it was a must for the state to have central paramilitary forces, he said and sought early hearing of the state government’s plea against the state high court order.

Acceding to grant an early hearing Friday to the state’s plea, the bench, however, wanted the state to find out if the university vice chancellor has given the permission to station paramilitary forces on the university campus.

The bench also wanted to know from the state government if there was no other place, close to the university campus but outside it to station the paramilitary forces.

Following the high court’s orders, the state government had Wednesday begun pulling out the Rapid Action Force and other paramilitary forces from the Osmania University campus.

The court Tuesday had reprimanded the state government while dismissing its petition challenging the earlier direction by a single-judge bench to withdraw the forces following the police baton charge on students and journalists on Sunday and Monday.

The high court has taken a serious note of the incidents, especially the beating up of girl students by police, switching off electricity supply, and firing of teargas shells in darkness.

While dealing with a petition of a television channel reporter who was assaulted by police, a single-judge bench had termed the state police ‘lawless’ and remarked that even the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues were helpless in controlling police.

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