The University of Delhi (DU) has remained non-committal towards an inquiry report submitted by the Varsity’s sexual harassment redressal cell on the 21st of May 2018. The report had addressed the charges of sexual harassment levelled against Ramesh Chandra, Professor at the Department of Chemistry, DU.
Ironically, the report itself had missed the 90-day deadline and had come after five months. But instead of acting on the suggestions, the Varsity has remained dodgy about the same.
The charges against Ramesh Chandra were brought in December 2017 by an ad-hoc teacher who had complained of being humiliated by Professor Chandra in front of six male faculty members during an interview for an ad-hoc position at the Department of Chemistry where she had been teaching for over six years.
Moreover, on 28th March 2018, students of the Department had written to the Vice-Chancellor, demanding the expulsion of Chandra from the post of Head of Department (HOD). In contrast, Professor Chandra had maintained that the allegations are baseless and are meant to malign him.
Through a phone call conversation, the teacher who had levelled the charges had informed the DU Beat correspondent, “I no longer teach at the Department of Chemistry. I had been teaching there for over 6 years, but May 2018 was my last month there.”
The inquiry report released by the Internal Complaints Committee on May 21st found “the act of Chandra to be sexual harassment”. Besides directing the University to apprise the Deans and Heads of Departments to have zero tolerance towards sexual harassment, the report also contained an admonitory warning for the other faculty members who were part of the interview committee with Chandra.
On being informed about the findings of the report, Chandra said that he is yet to get a copy of the report. However, he insisted that the case would set a bad precedent as that would put serious constraints on the autonomy of interview committees across the University.
Angshumi, a student pursuing her Master’s from the Department of Chemistry, told the DU Beat correspondent, “The teacher who had leveled the charges has taught us before. She is known to us to be a genuine person.” Another student told DU Beat on conditions of anonymity, “Professor Chandra is known to be aggressive. Even earlier, video clips of him engaging in a physical assault against other male teachers had surfaced.”
The Registrar of DU confirmed receipt of the report, and further made assurances that it would be “discussed”. However, no elaboration of the anticipated ‘discussion’ was provided to the DU Beat correspondent regardless of an email addressed to the Registrar seeking clarification on the same.
A case witness alleged that the inquiry report was diluted and shouldn’t have been delayed by so many months as the case was filed on 21st December 2017. “The University should now act on it and punish Chandra,” the witness held. The witness also alleged that the University was trying to save the accused and might let him off with a warning. Pankaj Garg, Academic Council Member at DU, remarked that the charges gathered against Chandra were grave and that “the matter” should not be brushed “under the carpet”.
Feature Image Credits: Iowa Tapestry
Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak
(With inputs from The Times of India)