#India – Sexual harassment claim rocks National University of Juridical Sciences #Vaw


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, TNN | Jun 20, 2013,

KOLKATA: The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), one of the country’s top law schools, has been rocked by a complaint of sexual harassment a week ahead of admission season.

A member of the vice-chancellor’s secretariat has brought charges of sexual harassment against a senior employee in the registrar’s department. The victim has alleged in written complaints to the VC and registrar that she has been receiving lewd e-mails and objectionable proposals from the accused. The harassment had allegedly been going on for over a year and the young woman had earlier verbally complained to the administration, but no action was taken. When she brought up the matter again with the registrar last week, he advised her to submit a written complaint.

Acting on the complaint, the university has set up a committee to investigate the case. The accused has been sent on leave. Two senior faculty members, a senior non-teaching staff and a teacher of Jadavpur University English department are members of the committee.

The accused, who has been with the NUJS for over a decade, called up TOI on Wednesday to say he had already resigned. “I have been framed. There is no truth in the accusation. There is a huge communication gap. In any case, I have resigned,” he said.

Registrar Surajit Mukhopadhyay, however, said he is yet to receive any such resignation.

“We have received a written complaint of sexual harassment and stalking from the victim and it has been forwarded to the committee for investigation. This is the first time that such a controversy has happened in the university and we have taken very serious note of the matter. If the accused is proved guilty, strictest action according to the law of the land will be taken,” Mukhopadhyay said.

Vice-chancellor Ishwar Bhatt assured that NUJS would do everything “to uphold the dignity” of the lady. “We are dealing with the complaint in the strictest terms. The accused is on leave andyes, he called me up to say he will resign,” he said.

Even as the NUJS campus was abuzz with the sexual harassment complaint, another controversy erupted when a final-year student was slapped in full view of others by a lady teacher. The student, who reached late for an exam, was stopped from entering the hall and asked by the teacher to first take permission from the VC. She argued that since she was just 15 minutes late she should be let in. This led to a heated exchange and the angry teacher slapped her.

Later, the VC intervened and the girl was taken to another room and given half an hour extra to write her test.

A committee set up to investigate the matter sent its report to the executive council which ruled that the faculty member be reprimanded for losing her temper. “We have tried to handle the incident in a very sensitive way, with full sympathies for the girl,” registrar Surajit Mukhopadhyay said.

 

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