With the recent news from Bharati College, where despite an official complaint being filed with the college’s ICC, justice wasn’t given, it becomes a meandering, harsh reality for us to accept that our university spaces might not be as safe as we assumed.

In February 2018, an official complaint
was filed with Bharati College’s ICC,
claiming that a student had been
sexually harassed by a teacher. Even
after eight months of waiting, a decision
has not come to light.
What’s worse is that this is not the first time this semester that such news has surfaced, example in quote being Ramjas College. During early September, the students of Ramjas College had circulated an online petition, expressing
their dissatisfaction with the college administration, which had indefinitely
delayed the ICC orientation for the first and second year students. A college’s Internal Complaints Committee intends to act at the core of a college’s sexual harassment-related issues. The committee has to be mandatorily formed in every college, and UGC norms also dictate that ICCs conduct regular sensitisation seminars to familiarise students with all the information they need to know. However, even after this being mandated, barring a few colleges, such sessions are not organised as frequently as they ought to be. A gender sensitisation event being organised by the college administration and not by students from the college’s WDC or Gender Studies Forum, often raises eyebrows because of its once in a blue moon nature. Many University students do not fully understand what constitutes harassment, and because of lack of suchn necessarysensitisation sessions, they discount the survivor’s account if it does not fall under their restricted purview of
harassment or molestation.
Adding on to this, during 2017, many news reports covered the lack of democratisation in the election process, like in Daulat Ram College, where a notice with names of numbers of ICC members was put up without any prior election-related news being given to students. In November 2017, Miranda House became the first college in DU to have successfully elected ICC student representatives.
Pinjra Tod, a students’ collective, pushed
the authorities to make elections more inclusive for all, allowing nominees from all years to file in their names alongside giving them adequate time to do so. ICCs, earlier known as CCCs, have been around the university space in scattered locations since almost 10 years. Since then, only in February this year, DU mandated all colleges to conduct proper ICC elections for its student representatives. The aftermath of elections in most colleges is unknown to most college students, and it remains to be seen if the student representatives are equipped with the required legal training to pursue serious cases with ease, and whether their word is given equal footing as that of others.
Even if the ICCs are functioning as per UGC norms, a number of structural drawbacks affect its functioning up to its full capacity. The most cited drawback
is that of the removal of ordinance 15D which ensures that the committee was independent of individuals who possessed considerable executive authority. Lack of awareness amongst students, few to nil posters which contain the contact numbers of ICC members, and non-establishment of a complaints box are a few but pressing concerns that most colleges face at the moment.
Amidst the climate of #MeToo, it’s a top priority that the administration reinforces the students’ faith in educational spaces and that the students and faculty raise their voices of dissent if
they observe problematic practices. After shocking incidents of ‘due process’ failing its students emerging from leading Indian universities like TISS and BHU, an urgent re-evaluation is
the need of the hour.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat

Vijeata Balani
[email protected]


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
[email protected]