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.
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