High Court of Kerala: Elope at your own risk and be ready to face consequences including dismissal from college

A recent judgement delivered by Justice K. Vinod Chandran of the Hight Court of Kerala has come to the attention of The Kochi Post.  The case pertained to a writ petition filed by a student of Marthoma College of Science and Technology, Kollam. The college had decided to take disciplinary action against the girl and a boy, both students of the college, after the couple was apprehended by the police in a lodge in Trivandrum.

They had eloped and a man missing complaint had been filed. The police produced them before a magistrate after which they were released to their respective parents.

The college management, on learning about the incident, took disciplinary action by sending them out of college.

The petitioner, in her plea, has said that she can only be accused of falling in love with her classmate and cannot be terminated from college because of the same. The petition also mentions that the girl has an excellent academic record.

The court asked the College to reconsider its stand. However, the management filed a counter affidavit and justified its stand by saying that a detailed enquiry was conducted.  It said the incident had affected the discipline of the educational institution itself. The management was also concerned about the fact that the boy was not of marriageable age.

The University to which the college is affiliated has refused to get involved in the controversy.

On hearing all sides of the argument, Justice Chandran observed,

This is not a mere case of falling in love; but two students taking the drastic step of eloping and living together without even contracting a marriage. As consenting adults, they could definitely act according to their volition. But, here they could not have even legally entered into a marriage. When taking such drastic step for the sake of love, as adults, they should also be ready to face the consequences. The Management’s concern of setting an example to the other students and ensuring maintenance of discipline in the educational institution cannot be easily brushed aside.

The petition was then dismissed.

Since it is not illegal for two consenting adults to elope or live together in India, this judgment seems to be an unusual one. While the management seems to be eager to set an example for other students, should it be at the cost of someone’s expulsion? Upholding moral values seems to be the order of the day, even though the petitioner has not indulged in any activity that is illegal. Can it then be said that the future of a bright student has been unfairly compromised?


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