This article has been written by Vikash Singh, 4th year Student of B.A.LL.B of the IIMT College of Law, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.


 Generally, this case talks about the right of internet access as a fundamental right. The judgment of this case becomes relevant in the Indian context today because the High Court of Kerala declared that the right to access the internet is not only a fundamental right but is also an intricate part of realizing the right to education under Article 21 of the constitution. The single bench of P.V. Asha J. made a commendable connection between the right to education and the role played by the internet in facilitating the same. 


Faheema Shirin who was a student of Sree Narayanaguru College, Chelannur, Kozhikode, alleged that she was expelled from her college as she failed to abide by the restrictions imposed by her college authorities concerning the time which was prescribed for the usage of her mobile phone in her college hostel. According to the rules of the hostel, the inmates were not allowed to use their phones after 6:00 pm till 10:00 pm.

While complaining about the inconvenient and non-feasible regulation, the college authorities informed her that she would have to comply with the restrictions imposed or vacate the hostel immediately. Afterward, all students/members of the Hostel had to document their willingness to abide by the restriction; when all the inmates, but Shirin, submitted their willingness, a notice was issued to Shirin directing her to empty the hostel within 12 hours. The loss of housing made it impossible for Shirin to attend her college classes since it would require her to travel nearly 150 km every day from home. Sometime later,  when she went to vacate her room, the door was locked by member of college authority, and the Hostel premises did not allow her to take her belongings. The respondents include/contain the State of Kerala, The University of Calicut, The University Grants Commission (UGC), the Principal of Sree Narayanaguru College, and the Deputy Warden and Matron of the Women’s Hostel. It is stated that the change in the duration of the restriction for the use of mobile phones was brought into effect at the request of the parents.

The following issue arises in this particular case :

  1. Whether the restrictions imposed by the Hostel on the use of mobile phones infringe the fundamental rights of the petitioner, even assuming that such alteration was brought about at the request of the parents of the inmates?
  2. Whether the restriction prevent the students from “acquiring knowledge” from their mobiles infringing the fundamental right to education?
  3. Whether usage of mobile phone during 6 pm to 10 pm would amount to indiscipline and whether the refusal to abide by the instruction in using it should result in expulsion from the hostel.


The petitioner contended that similar limitations are assessed only in the girls’ hostel and thus, it totally amounts to demarcation grounded on gender, in violation of guidelines issued by UGC. The restrictions are arbitrary and vitiate access to quality education for womanish scholars hampering their growth and eventuality. It is also her matter that refusal of the right to acquire knowledge through internet and prohibition on the use of mobile phones, is a privation of the access to the source of knowledge mischievous to the quality of education available to women. Similar restrictions quantum to violation of the principles embodied in the **Conventions on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979 (“CEDAW”) **and the Beijing Declaration along with Universal Declaration of Human Rights under which State parties are to take applicable measures to help demarcation of all forms against women. The right to pierce internet forms a part of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) and the restrictions assessed do not come within reasonable restrictions covered by Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India in a scenario when the Government has proclaimed steps for making the internet accessible to all citizens recognizing the right to the internet as a human right. The restrictions have raided the abecedarian right to sequestration guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Being a major not have any authority to intrude with her freedom to use the mobile phones. The forceful seizure of electronic devices has raided the right of sequestration of hostel inmates. The revision of rules grounded on maternal concern is also an violation  on her autonomy as well as that of other inmates of the hostel.


The Respondents vehemently argued that in the absence of any challenge to the rules and regulations, the petitioner cannot challenge the action taken by the rules. It was also mentioned in the argument that in the light of the judgment of the Full Bench of the Kerala High Court in Pavitran V.K. M v. State of Kerala & others, the rules and regulations of the hostel will stand as long as they are not set aside. They further contended that the statutes had been framed to insure discipline and avoid abuse of technology and the parents and scholars were rigorously  made to submit a protestation to the effect that they will abide by the rules of the college and anyone who occur to the contrary will be ejected.


The need for making the internet accessible in each and every corner of this country is no more a matter of choice but is rather a necessity.  Justice Asha P makes a close connection between the right to the Internet, the right to education, and the right to privacy while elaborating on the right to privacy of an individual. And she mentioned that we are obligated to make the Internet accessible to all the sections of society as it plays a very close role in empowering citizens.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *