The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) is taking up the cause of a student activist group called “Pinjra Tod” and has issued a notice to 23 universities, two institutions and all the colleges of Delhi University (DU) over timing restrictions in hostels and PG accommodations.
Some of the universities that have been issued the notice are Jamia Millia Islamia, Jamia Hamdard, AIIMS, IGNOU, JNU, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi Technological University, NLU, IIFT, etc.
Devangna, an activist with Pinjra Tod and alumnus of DU said, “We sent a 16,000 words report to DCW that consisted of 100 stories of various complainants from different colleges in Delhi. We informed them about rampant gender discrimination across college hostels and PGs. The issues mainly come from campuses of DU, Jamia and Ambedkar University. There were few complaints from private institutions as well. Curfew timings only for girls in hostels and PGs, expensive women hostels as compared to hostels for boys and moral policing in hostels and PGs are the major issues that we want to be deal with.”
The notice has been issued as part of an inquiry instituted by the DCW into a report compiled by Pinjra Tod. “The University and College administration play a crucial role in guaranteeing gender equality on university campus. The DCW has instituted an enquiry into a report compiled by a student activist group regarding discriminatory living circumstances for women in hostel accommodations in Delhi. Further DCW was also approached by students of Hindu College, who have alleged rampant discrimination between hostel guidelines for male and female students. The Commission intends to undertake and complete its enquiry before the next academic session begins. Please note that the non-receipt of the data sought above shall be viewed seriously,” said Swati Maliwal, DCW chief.
The notice has been sent as per the Delhi Commission for Women Act, 1994 that mandates the DCW to investigate and examine all matters relating to the safeguards provided for women in Delhi under the Constitution and various laws and give recommendations to the government on the issue of women rights and safety under Section 10 that empowers the Commission to requisition of any public record or copy from any office, and gives it powers of a Civil Court for the same.
The DCW notice includes questions about the number of students studying in the University/College, disaggregated by gender and reservation status, sexuality and differently abled who have availed the hostel facility provided by the University/College, disaggregated by reservation; total capacity of the hostel; number of seats in the hostel which remained unfilled; annual fee for students in University/College Hostel and the entry and exit timings of students in the University/College Hostels. The notice further asked whether “timings are different for male, female and transsexual students” and about the penalties and other actions that are taken against the male, female and transsexual students upon violation of the set timings.
The notice said, “It appears that many female students do not get access to hostel accommodations. Regarding this, please provide brief details of plans or proposals for expansion of hostels in and copies of all letters and other communication sent to various authorities for requesting the construction of hostels, which have not yet been complied with. Brief details of all past major hostel constructions or expansions both for male and female students carried-out by the University/College are also to be sent.”