The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has set right to work this new year by issuing notices to Delhi University college principals for failing to take adequate action against the accused in cases of harassment and inappropriate behaviour:
The St. Stephen’s harassment case
On 9th January 2016, The DCW issued a notice to the principal of St. Stephen’s College- Mr. Valson Thampu. The notice questioned the authorities as to why there hasn’t been any action taken against the professor of the college accused of sexually harassing a student. In July 2015, a research scholar of St. Stephen’s had filed a complaint against her chemistry professor, Satish Kumar, under whom she was pursuing her Ph.D. She also complained against the college principal for not providing adequate relief, and rather shielding the accused. The chairperson of DCW, Swati Maliwal, urged the administration to take corrective steps in line with the Sexual Harrasment at Workplace Act, 2013.
The chairperson also asked the principal to refrain from showing any bias towards any party involved in the case and to stop making public declarations before the truth of the matter is revealed. The principal is allegedly defending the professor and calls the complaint filed ‘a diabolical lie’ on the assumption that an 85 percent disabled man could never sexually assault anyone.The DCW has given the college a week to reply to the notice failing which adequate action will be taken in accordance with the law.
Bhim Rao Ambedkar principal reinstated
On 10th January 2016, another notice was issued to Delhi University demanding an explanation for the reinstatement of the principal of Bhim Rao Ambedkar College. The principal was suspended for allegedly abetting the suicide of a lab assistant, Pavitra Bhardwaj. In October 2015, 35 year old Pavitra Bhardwajhad set herself on fire outside the Delhi secretariat as a protest against the alleged physical and mental harassment faced by her, inflicted by the principal and another staff member. The notice has been issued on the complaint of the husband of Pavitra Bhardwaj who is claiming that the principal is trying to create undue pressure for the witnesses of the case and is reconstituting the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) for his personal vendetta.
The DCW has gone ahead to term the reconstitution of the ICC before its tenure and the reinstatement of the principal to the same post as “extremely disturbing” and seeks a reply from the authorities within seven days. As per the DCW notice, looking into the documents sent in by the Directorate of Higher Education and the allegations made by the principal against the ICC having ill intentions towards him, the claim of the husband is getting strengthened.
FIR lodged against a college teacher of Aditi Mahavidyalaya alleging inappropriate behaviour
A professor of the college Aditi Mahavidyalya has been accused of inappropriate behaviour with his female students. This was first recorded on 8th January’16 when a student of the college complained against the teacher’s misconduct towards her. A group of students informed the principal as well as the police but no FIR was lodged. As of now, 30 girls have complained against his misconduct. To urge the authorities to take this matter seriously, hundreds of students were seen protesting against the college administration and local police force on Tuesday. They were enraged with the delay of proceedings despite the abundant complaints. An FIR was finally lodged on Tuesday evening and a formal police investigation into the case has begun.
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