DU sexual harassment


A sexual harassment incident can leave an individual scarred for their entire life. The least that could be done is to identify the accused and bring justice, something the ICC of DU works towards. However, it is often found missing when horrific incidents come forward. Why is the ICC dormant when it is most needed? Read for more.

Basking in the morning sun while discovering the Delhi Metro and the joy of stepping into the college corridors brings a feeling of accomplishment. A transition from school to college brings with it a million sacred dreams that can’t wait to be unraveled. Somewhere it becomes the duty of the institution to protect those dreams and let the innocence cherish the moment in hand. However, a question of safety and security is a product of oblivion of these dreams.

Living in a city like Delhi, people – especially women – do fear about their safety and security. Yet, they sleep at nights dreaming about the endless things they can do and achieve. Their dreams are not hindered by the question of safety but as soon as the Sun comes out, it becomes too obvious to think about it before stepping ahead. Hence, university remains the only place to live those dreams carefree. However, what if even the university becomes the place putting a question mark on one’s safety and security. What if University becomes the place which we term as “unsafe”?

In the recent months, it has become too obvious that the university is not providing a safe space in this regard. From the incident of the Ramjas Debating Society to the scars of the festival of Holi, University of Delhi (DU) has put its DUites under the question of safety and security. It is true that as a woman we have to think about an endless list of things before stepping out of our residence. However, college is surely not the place where a student has to worry about these things but here we are, wrapped up in our thoughts of if going to a certain place will be safe for us?

Read Also: St Stephen’s Displacement Causes Problems for Students

A question of safety will always be present at the back of our minds but if a mechanism comes into place which redresses our concerns in regards to harassment then a sense of security can blanket the students and teachers of the varsity. One such committee is the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) which addresses the grievances of students and teachers in regards to any form of sexual harassment. Now, the mechanism seems pleasing since the committee is present in most of the colleges and societies apart from a centralized committee of the varsity. The question arises when we take a look at its functioning.

When a Ramjas Debating society’s member was stripped off his credentials for alleged harassment or a student of DU had to face sexual harassment, where was the ICC at those times? Isn’t it the duty of ICC to keep the varsity a place free of harassment? Aren’t they responsible to spread awareness regarding the same? Where was it when such heinous crimes were unraveling themselves? There is an endless list of questions that need to be asked and answered for the scope of improvement of the safety and security of the campus.

Read Also: Silencing Sexual Harassment: How DU Silences its Survivors

In conversation with DU Beat, a member of the ICC explained the functioning of the committee in DU. The member explained that the ICC expects the complainant to come forward or directly come to the office and give the committee a written complaint. Once the complaint reaches, it is taken up in a meeting. If the entire committee agrees on the authenticity of the complaint and if it falls under the jurisdiction of ICC then the complaint is taken forward. As this is the final step where the complainant can withdraw their complaint, the ICC asks them if they want to pursue it or not. Once the ICC gets their consensus, they are asked for 6 copies (as recommended by law) of the complaint. Then, as the ICC is law bounded with an external legal advisor, they send the whole complaint to the respondent, without censoring anything, and give them a 10 days period to submit their clarification or response to the complaint. After this, both the parties are called in a manner where they don’t see each other and individual hearings take place. Then, the ICC gives them a chance to call the witnesses which is followed by witness testimonies. At the end, the committee comes up with their findings and send them to both the parties involved. If nothing else comes up that could change the nature of the proceedings then the committee arrives at recommendations, and according to those, further actions are taken.

Since there are a lot of complaints at a given point of time and law has given us 90 days to resolve an issue, it generally takes 4-5 months to resolve a complaint.

Member of ICC, DU

Upon asking about the reason behind the recent jump in harassment cases in the academic space, the member stated that it could be attributed to the pandemic where people did not understand the consequences of the things they did behind their laptops and mobiles. Further, the member claimed that the varsity has a persistent issue of gender sensitization. For the part of ICC, as the member claimed, it is taking more and more steps to make people sensitized about the gender, to make students aware about what is right and what is wrong.

The harassment cases haven’t increased exponentially but they have increased, particularly in the cyber space.

Member of ICC, DU

Further the member added that there are certain guidelines issued by the ICC in regards to the recent trend of cases that are coming to the committee but it is difficult to enforce them at the grassroot level. Additionally, the member informed that the apex ICC has no jurisdiction over individual ICC of various colleges and hence cannot intervene in their matters. However, if the grievances of a student have not been resolved at the college level, they can directly write to the ICC of DU and then further steps can be taken in the case.

On asking about what if a particular ICC is not functioning properly, the member said, “I can’t comment on it but you can ask the Proctor of the University. There are other mechanisms to address the issues related to the functioning of ICC of a college.”

When the question about how the ICC intends to improve its functioning was popped before the member, they responded by stating their wish to include more members. However, as they stated, the law has bounded ICC to include only 10 members.

As the member said that the ICC’s duty is to deal with the sexual harassment cases and the problem of gender sensitization only then, who is there to keep a check if the guidelines are followed or if a subordinate ICC is functioning properly? Just as the High Courts have a superintendence over all the subordinate courts, who is there to supervise the subordinate ICCs? What happens if a sexual harassment case is shut down for all the wrong reasons? Who is there to keep a check on the functioning of the redressal mechanism?

Read Also: The Story of the ICC

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Ankita Baidya

[email protected]

TW: Sexual Harassment

As the sexual harassment case filed against the head of the Chemistry Department (HoD) moves to a third panel, despite the Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) finding the perpetrator guilty 19 months ago, it is time to acknowledge that the harassment culture in DU is more predatory than it seems.

A safety audit carried out by the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) across colleges affiliated to the Delhi University (DU) stated that one in every four women studying in the University has faced sexual harassment. One in five cases of harassment were of touching or groping. Lewd gestures, staring and vulgar comments make up for the most rampant kind of harassment.

A total of 188 cases were recorded by the survey. The survey also highlighted cyber harassment. Carried across 24 colleges with 736 female respondents, it stated that one in five cases of harassment concerned trolling on social media or harassment through calls, text or WhatsApp messages. The report also stated that not even half of the respondents were aware of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) in their institutions.

Last year, when the #MeToo movement was a billowing surge, DU’s debating and MUN circuit ignited their own version of it, with female debaters coming up to narrate incidents of sexual assault or harassment. It was a shocking revelation to be made, the debating circuit has long been a platform with liberal ideas as its mainstay, and constant debates on feminism and equality. With allegations being made on a Facebook Group that served as an announcement board for tournaments called, ‘Debate Lokpal’, they called out senior members of DU’s debating circuit.

In April 2019, Moksh Nair, a third-year student from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies (SSCBS), was accused of harassing seven third-year girls at a farewell party, and the girls ended up dropping any legal charges against him.

A Political Science professor, from Delhi University’s Daulat Ram College, was arrested by the Maurice Nagar police on Monday, 5th February for allegedly sexually harassing a 17-year-old student. The student alleged that Professor, Abhay Kumar, had often tried to touch her inappropriately whenever he found her alone. The girl reportedly informed the police that he would follow her and ask her to meet him. He would even, allegedly, threaten to fail her in internal exams if she rejected his advances.

Principal Savita Roy had allegedly been informed about the Professor’s misdemeanour beforehand but had refused to take action. In fact, in the six days it took between the complaint being filed (31st January) and Kumar’s arrest (5th February), students point out that the Professor was not only allowed to enter the college premises but also allowed to take classes until he finally submitted his resignation.

In 2015, a St. Stephen’s Ph.D. student has accused a professor- Satish Kumar- of the college of sexual harassment. The victim in her complaint has alleged that the Professor harassed her while she was working with him in college. She also said that the college Principal, Valson Thampu, tried to stop her from going to the police and instead forced her to end the matter in the college. The reasoning behind this was stated as not causing any delay or problems in the completion of her Ph.D.

In 2013, The principal of Bhim Rao Ambedkar College was booked by Delhi Police for abetting the suicide of Pavitra Bhardwaj, a former employee who had accused him of sexual harassment. Instead of hearing her out, the college had sacked her two years prior. Bhardwaj, who succumbed to injuries on 7th October, alleged sexual and mental harassment by Arora and another staff member.

These cases are a few of the many that go unreported, unnoticed or are hushed down. It becomes essential to acknowledge the fact that there remain to be a few isolated cases, wherein the accuser fabricates the case in an attempt to shame the accused.

Yet, it becomes important to also acknowledge the fact that most of these cases are factual and are hushed down by authorities in an attempt to not tarnish the reputation of an institution, or even a community. With the Bharati College case reaching its 19th month and the perpetrator having been found guilty with no actions taken, it becomes vital to try and understand why it is that an institution that prides itself for being a safe, largely-liberal and accepting space, does so much to silence its survivors and protect its perpetrators.

Feature Image Credits: HuffPost India

Shreya Juyal

[email protected]

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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Aditi Gutgutia

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Due to the varsity’s lack of action despite the perpetrators having been found guilty, a sexual harassment survivor wrote to the VC, PMO and MHRD, complaining about the lack of initiative taken.


Despite the varsity’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) finding the head of the Chemistry department (HoD) guilty 18 months ago in case of sexual harassment report, no action has been taken. The case is claimed to have occurred on April 2018, and despite the ICC’s confirmation, the university has taken no action. A day before the DU Executive Council (EC) meeting, the alleged survivor has written to the DU Vice-Chancellor, the PMO (Prime Minister of India), the MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development) and others stating that the university has delayed in giving her justice.


In the letter, the alleged survivor has stated that while another EC meeting has been called on October 25, her sexual harassment cause has also been called for discussion. Alleging that she was not informed about her case in the previous EC meetings, she said that she got to know that to decide her case,  the VC has constituted a new three-member committee, consisting of 2 EC members and one member from outside the University, as reported by The Times of India. The survivor expressed distress at the knowledge that the varsity has let the guilty HoD and the six other members of the Chemistry department walk free.


The survivor- whose identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme Court directives on cases related to sexual harassment- alleged that the University failed to abide by its regulations regarding sexual harassment at workplace.


Under Section 9 of the code of regulations, the survivor was to be provided interim relief, which she claimed she was not while the case was being enquired by the ICC. The letter also states that despite the case being reported on May 2018, no decision has been taken and no punishment has been given to the guilty party, which is a direct violation of Section 8(4), which states that the UGC regulations on sexual harassment, the Executive Authority of the University has to take a decision within 30 to 45 days after a report has come out.


The committee made by the VC is extra-legal and does not find a place in either the POSH law or the UGC Regulations 2016- the survivor thus stated that this quasi-judicial body cannot be allowed to discredit the ICC report.


She also revealed that on September 15, the Chemistry department called for an interview for the position of assistant professor on a guest basis in which she applied but the HOD was a member of the selection committee despite the ICC saying that he cannot be a member of the selection committee if she applied.


Feature Image Credit: DU Beat Archives

Shreya Juyal

[email protected]