Chemistry Department


The sexual harassment complaint filed by an Ad-hoc professor against the Chemistry Head of Department (HoD), Delhi University (DU), moves to a third panel with the accused roaming free.

After 18 months of a sexual harassment complaint being filed by an Ad-hoc professor, in the esteemed University of Delhi, against the Head of the Chemistry Department, the case has been forwarded to a third committee by the DU administration. Professor Ramesh Chandra and six others, who are accused of this, continue to be free. Two separate complaints were filed in March, 2018 by the Ad-hoc professor and a postgraduate student, while the accused claimed that the allegations were false.

The professor filed a complaint with the Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) on 21st December that year, while the student filed a petition with the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) which then forwarded the same to the ICC. Initially, the ICC found the accused guilty, however did not award any punishment.

This followed another investigation committee being set up by the DU administration. This three-member committee in its report suggested a hearing to take place in the Executive Council (EC) which is the appellate authority. This too was rejected by the administration and a third one-member committee was set up consisting of one lawyer. When the report by the second committee received multiple objections, the EC stated, “It was not conducive to bring both parties together and conduct a trial on them”. Hence, the lawyer in the third committee would listen to both parties.

As per the Prevention of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act (POSH), an ICC must be constituted to deal with instances of sexual harassment. In case of an inquiry, the ICC is supposed to come to a decision within 90 days of the complaint being filed. The complainant termed this a “delaying tactic” by the Varsity. “Why has the ICC report not considered yet? Does it have no merit?”, she questioned. She further alleged, “The ICC has found him and the others guilty but there was no specific mention of the punishment”.

To our surprise, the HoD Chemistry still presides over interviews and meetings in the department. The victim alleged that even though he was specified not to, Professor Chandra was present in her interview for the post of an assistant professor on a guest basis. Last week she wrote to the Vice-Chancellor, the Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office to intervene in the said case.

Featured Image Credits: Frontline

Aditi Gutgutia

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The qualifying chemistry examination held for the master’s programme has come under scrutiny for breach of secrecy. Students suspect malicious intent by the Head of the Department.

The question under attack

In the inorganic chemistry examination, students of semester IV in the varsity’s M.Sc. (Chemistry) course were asked a 10-mark question — Write a brief note about the presentation assigned to you in class.”

This question became problematic as each student had prepared a unique presentation and answer sheets for semester-end papers that are checked internally.

Students incriminate HOD

During the month of March, students and teachers alleged Prof. Ramesh Chandra, the head of the department, to have sexually harassed them. This led to a protest by the students, and a student in a statement to The Indian Express said, “We have already been threatened once — that we will be failed for protesting. Now this question intends to victimise us when we are in the last year of our masters’ degree. We had written to the examination department but nothing happened.”

Alarmed, a total number of 118 students had raised a complaint to the Dean of Examinations asking them to bar a few professors suspected to err in an unbiased marking scheme. Their request was ignored and the examination was held on May 9, regardless.

Ramesh Chandra’s response

In response to the alleged bias, Prof. Ramesh Chandra told The Indian Express, “Questions are set by teachers in the department and evaluated by them, so writing about the project is not going to cost students anything. They protested against the issue but that issue is over. Why would I want to identify them? Everything is done as per merit and a select few are politicising the issue.”

University policy to prevent bias

The varsity has set norms and procedures to prevent any bias from either side of the examination by removing identifiable aspects such as name and internally assigned roll number from answer sheets before they are sent for evaluation.

According to Ordinance X-A, “deliberately disclosing one’s identity or making any distinctive mark in the answer book for that purpose.” is considered as unfair and dishonest means. The applicability of said ordinance to the question in scrutiny and its consequence remains unclear.

Feature Image Credits: Dept. of Chemistry, DU


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Rajib Ray, the President of Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), on behalf of DUTA has written to the Vice-Chancellor of the University on 17th April expressing concern over the recent sexual harassment cases that have come to light.

The letter stated various violations by the colleges. It has been observed that the accused is often a person of authority and is successful in intimidating and silencing the complainants and witnesses. Despite this, stern action is not taken against the accused which raises doubts about the inquiry committee and process. A number of colleges/departments have flouted the University Grants Commission’s guideline for conducting student elections for the Internal Complaints Committee. In cases where reports have been submitted to the Apex Committee, the recommendations have not been placed before the Executive Council for implementation. The other cases have not been pursued in a time-bound manner leading to the subversion of justice and redressal.

It has also been articulated that women students and employees continue to face sexual harassment. The DUTA President has urged the Vice-Chancellor to take the cases from Department of Chemistry and African Studies, Swami Shraddhanand College, Bharti College, Daulat Ram College, and College of Vocational Studies seriously.

In conversation with DU Beat, Abha Deb Habib, an active member of DUTA added, a University with 1.5 lakh students in regular courses and over four lakh students in SOL (School of Open Learning) has to provide a safe environment for women students, which means that there cannot be any kind of laxity in handling cases of sexual harassment. With a large number of outstation students, it becomes even more crucial to provide them safety. It is unfortunate to see that in the Chemistry Department case, the Head was not removed while the inquiry was taking place against him on charges of sexual harassment. A system of fair and time-bound inquiry is a must if we wish to curb this social problem and empower our women students.


Feature Image Credits: Counter Currents
Prachi Mehra
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