Ban beauty shows in educational institutions: HC

It is not known as to how ‘Walking the ramp’ will benefit an engineering student

The Madras High Court has directed the authorities to ban beauty shows or any programme in educational institutions that is conducted to decide the best-looking male/female student.

“It is not known as to how ‘Walking the ramp’ will benefit an engineering student,” Justice T.S.Sivagnanam wondered and directed the higher education officials to issue a circular immediately to all institutions and universities in the State to ban or not to conduct any beauty shows at the inter-collegiate level.

He was passing the interim directive till issues such as whether the universities exercised due care and control over such programmes, whether any guidelines had been issued or how the funds were administered were considered.

In a writ petition in 2013, Lakshmi Suresh of R.A.Puram submitted that her daughter, P.S.Akshaya, was studying first year B.E then had participated in the event “Mr and Ms TECHOFES 13”. She was not given the prize advertised and assured. She was given a Certificate of Appreciation in which the signatures were forged.

In the petition, filed through counsel S. Sathyanarayanan, she sought a direction to the Dean of Anna University and the organisers of a cultural event “TECHOFES” in February 2013 to pay a compensation of Rs.5 lakh for violation of her daughter’s fundamental right and for the treatment meted out to her.

“A serious issue has been brought to the notice of this court by way of this writ petition,” the Judge observed.

The programme was held on the Anna University premises.

It could not be stated that the university officials were not aware of various events. The petitioner had brought to the court’s knowledge about the unpleasant turn of events faced by her daughter.

In a strong order, Mr.Justice Sivagnanam said the issue raised could not be decided, more particularly whether the claim for payment of compensation was maintainable, unless all the respondents had filed their counter-affidavit.

“However, one issue which is a matter of concern is whether at all such an event – that is, to select the best looking male/female student is required to be conducted in a cultural event, that too organised by a century-old engineering college, established and administered by the government.”

Fanciful prize money was being advertised as several corporate giants funded the programme.

The larger question would be the need for such a programme in cultural festivals, he said, issuing interim directives to prevent any unpleasant event till the final orders are passed.

He posted the matter for filing of counter on February 20.

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