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In landmark ruling, nursing students win right to marry

January 20, 2006 -- Today the New Kerala (India) site reported that the Kerala High Court had declared illegal a state nursing council rule requiring that nursing students be unmarried. The unsigned piece, "Kerala HC says marital status no bar to studying nursing," notes that the court also declared minimum height and weight requirements to be unlawful. We thank the web site for running this helpful story.

The case reportedly involved a petition filed by the Kerala Nursing Students' Association against the Kerala Nurses and Midwives' Council, which evidently had prescribed the rules for admission to nursing schools in the state. According to the piece, the court held that the marital requirement was "highly discriminatory and violative of fundamental rights." The court apparently found that the Council had presented no persuasive reason why a married student would be unable to discharge the responsibilities of nursing study, particularly since practicing nurses are permitted to be married. The article also says that the court assured the Nursing Council that "[m]arried women" could adjust their lives to accommodate their educational careers, a statement that makes us wonder whether this rule was applied to male students. The court also found "no reason" for a rule "fixing the minimum height of candidates as 147 cm and weight as 39.5 kilograms." The court reportedly observed that, since the Indian Nursing Council had already "directed all the state governments not to impose discriminatory eligibility criteria such as marital status, no further directions were necessary."

It appears that the court did not address whether allowing nursing students to marry might undermine the marriages of non-nursing students.

See the article "Kerala HC says marital status no bar to study nursing" in the January 20, 2006 edition of the web site.


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