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No special privileges for pregnant students, says Kerala High Court

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India Legal Bureau

The Kerala High Court has ruled that there can be no ground for offering concession to pregnant students, as far as allowing them to sit for exams in case of short attendance is concerned. It has made clear that they will have to bear the consequences for short attendance just like any other student. Being pregnant is a matter of choice, the court observed.

The court struck down a ruling delivered by the Delhi High Court in 2010. The High Court had ruled that such an exemption was necessary to justify that motherhood was not a crime and had observed that denying the exemption would violate Article 41 and Article 42 of the constitution.

The Kerala High court was hearing a case filed by Jasmine VG, a B.Ed student from Kannur University. She was denied permission to sit for her second semester exams due to short attendance. The reason cited by her was pregnancy and it was well supported by a medical report from a gynaecologist. Still she was not allowed to write her exam.

Her counsel in the Kerala High Court had alluded to the Delhi High Court verdict while pleading her case.

But the Kerala High Court did not agree with the verdict and observed that becoming pregnant was not a sudden medical condition and students need to decide their priorities. It said: “Pregnancy was an optional choice and that cannot be a reason to permit a student to deviate from the requirements of a regular course of study, and the insistence to adhere to the course regulations cannot be termed to be a negation of the preferential treatment to women enshrined under the Directive Principles or in derogation of the values of motherhood.”

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