HC bans beauty contests in TN colleges

Wednesday 11th February 2015 06:22 EST

Chennai: The Madras high court has banned beauty contests in colleges and other educational institutions in Tamil Nadu. Justice T S Sivagnanam directed the state government to issue a circular banning such events in colleges and universities. The judge said that it was not known as to how walking a ramp would help the student pursuing a course in engineering.

The judge was passing interim orders on a petition filed by Lakshmi Suresh, who said her daughter, an engineering student, participated in Ms Techofes contest held as part of the annual cultural event at Anna University's College of Engineering in Guindy in February 2013. The girl won the beauty contest, but was given a forged certificate by the organisers of Techofes-2013. She was also not given the promised prize, the petition said.

Claiming that her daughter's dignity and decency had been undermined, Lakshmi demanded the promised prize along with a compensation of Rs 500,000. In his order, Justice Sivagnanam said: "One issue which is a matter of concern is whether at all such an event to select the best-looking male/female student is required to be conducted in a cultural event, that too organized by a century-old engineering college established and administered by the government."

The judge said the court intended to examine whether the university exercised due care and control over these programmes, whether there are any guidelines and how funds are administered. "Till these issues are considered, the secretary of higher education department, commissioner of technical education and director of collegiate education are directed to issue a circular forthwith to all institutions, universities, deemed universities and colleges in the state to ban or not to conduct any beauty show or programme to decide best looking male/female student in their institution or at inter-collegiate level."

The judge said certain interim directions were required to prevent such unpleasant experience. "Fanciful price money is being advertised and several corporate giants fund the programme. The larger question would be the need for such a programme in such a cultural festival," he said.

The university, however, feigned ignorance of the event at its annual cultural show, and said it was not aware of any such event or prize. Brushing aside its claims, Justice Sivagnanam said: "When the programme was conducted on the premises of the university, it cannot be stated that officials of the university were not aware of various events mentioned in the programme. It could be presumed that programme schedule would have to be approved by the university before the event is conducted." The judge adjourned the matter to May 22 for further hearing.

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