Shimla [Himachal Pradesh], November 6 (ANI): Students of Himachal Pradesh National Law University (HPNLU) wrote a letter to the Vice Chancellor, alleging inaction by the university’s administration in the sexual harassment complaint filed by female students against one of their professors.
As many as 70 female students of multiple batches in HPNLU filed a complaint on September 28, 2022, against the professor, stated the letter accessed by ANI.
The students have also alleged that the chairperson of the Internal Complaint Committee, the committee in charge of handling the complaint above was changed abruptly and without due notice soon after the complaint had been filed.
Apart from the sexual harassment complaint, the students complained about a myriad of issues like lack of basic amenities and monetary fraud with the students, hampering the quest for legal knowledge, etc.
“A little while ago, namely on the date of 28th September 2022, over 70 female students of multiple batches in HPNLU lodged a formal complaint against one of the teaching staff, Aayush Raj, on the grounds of sexual harassment,” the letter further said.
“Students had experienced sexually coloured, misogynistic remarks at his hands which extended to misbehaviour in public. In regards to such a grave concern, that warranted immediate and strict action from the Vice Chancellor and other concerned authorities, all the relief provided to the victims was an email stating the accused would no longer be in academic control of the aggrieved batches,” the letter alleged.
The students in the letter have alleged that the accused has throughout been and is still supported by the concerned authorities and is being shielded by them on such serious matters.
“The accused has remained unaffected and is in charge not only of teaching the victims but the setting and marking their exam sheets, which leads to trepidation in the minds of the victims who were failed by the administration in every manner possible in this situation,” the letter alleged.
The accused still openly accepts that he will still be in in-charge of taking assignments and presentations which makes him in charge of academic activities from which he was barred, the letter further alleged.
“To worsen the situation, the chairperson of the Internal Complaint Committee, the committee in charge of handling the aforementioned complaint was changed abruptly and without due notice soon after the complaint had been filed although it is against the rules of the ICC where it clearly states that a chairperson cannot be removed mid inquiry,” the letter alleged.
“This action seems motivated by bias and the need to protect the accused as the decision came on the heels of the complaint itself and never was reasonably justified. If the complainant will be awarded such an incompetent decision and the Chairman will be awarded such demotion then it would make registration of sexual harassment complaints much more inefficient and both the complainant and adjudicator will be scared of registering and resolving it respectively,” the letter said.
The students complained against the Controller of Examination of the University Chanchal Kumar for conducting examinations during the period of May-June, 2020 when the COVID-19 outbreak was at its peak and other issues related to mismanagement of the examination process.
“One examination was in fact conducted during this period, for which a heavy majority of students of two batches did not appear out of terror for their lives given the graveness of the COVID-19 virus. This led to the exam being retaken, for which each student was charged an amount of Rs 1,000,” the students in the letter alleged.
The students also demanded action against the mental harassment of the students, arbitrary rules and regulations, unaccounted-for financial issues, and lack of basic amenities for students. (ANI)
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