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Delhi HC directs JNU to provide hostel accommodation to blind student

The Delhi High Court on Monday instructed Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to provide free hostel accommodation to a student with vision disability, who had been evicted from the hostel, in addition to other entitlements mandated by law and university policies for students with disabilities, until the completion of his master’s degree. Justice C Hari Shankar ordered JNU to ensure all facilities are provided to the student within one week of the judgment’s announcement.

The high court granted Sanjeev Kumar Mishra’s petition, contesting his hostel eviction due to rules barring accommodation for students pursuing a second postgraduate course.

“The petitioner is entitled, as of right, to hostel accommodation, provided by JNU within its campus, free of cost, with all other entitlements for students with disabilities, till completion of his master’s degree in Sociology,” stated the court.

It criticized JNU’s defense, deeming it ironic that the university relied on Mishra’s distant address despite his vision disability. The court highlighted the absence of empirical evidence supporting JNU’s stance against providing hostel accommodation.

It emphasized equal entitlement to housing for all students, regardless of academic history. Advocate Rahul Bajaj argued against applying rules without considering individual disabilities.

JNU’s counsel defended the denial, citing the hostel manual’s exclusion of students with prior degrees or from non-Delhi residences. They contended this exception applied to Mishra, thus rejecting his entitlement to hostel accommodation. The court’s ruling underscored Mishra’s rights as a student with disability and JNU’s obligation to accommodate him accordingly.

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