L-G reinstates historian 10 years after action on charges of sexual harassment

Jung recorded his 'severe displeasure' at the way the historian was kept out by the then Delhi govt under Sheila Dikshit.

Written by Shyamlal Yadav | New Delhi | Published: December 6, 2014 1:05 am

Professor Makhan Lal, who was suspended from Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management (DIHRM) on allegations of sexual harassment in 2004 and later sacked, has now been reinstated “with all consequential benefits”.

Prof Lal rejoined DIHRM on November 21 following an order issued by Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung who recorded his “severe displeasure” at the way the historian was kept out by the then Delhi government under Sheila Dikshit, disregarding a note from the then L-G Tejinder Khanna.

On January 6, 2010, Khanna had pointed out that Prof Lal had to be reinstated as the disciplinary action against him was not initiated by the relevant authority, in this case the L-G. Khanna reiterated that view in a note on April 22, 2010.

But the Delhi government had, in the meantime, sought advice from the then Attorney General of India Goolam Vahanvati who noted on July 28, 2010 that the L-G was not the disciplinary authority for Prof Lal but “the Board of Management of DIHRM”.

On August 16, 2010, DIHRM’s Vice-Chairman K K Chakraborty, on behalf of the board, issued orders for the “removal” of Prof Lal.
The action against Prof Lal was based on reports from a National Commission for Women (NCW) panel of Nafisa Hussain and Nirmala Sitharaman, who is now a Minister of State, and an internal panel of the Guru Gobind Indraprastha University, following a complaint filed in November 2003 that he had allegedly passed lewd remarks in the presence of girl students.

The complaint alleged that Prof Lal told the students, who were travelling to Khajuraho and Bhubaneshwar that “girls must carry their bikinis if they want to enjoy the beaches of Puri”.

He is also alleged to have told two girl students: “Jab mein jharne se guzarta hoon tab mein nanga ghoomta hoon, kapde apne haath mein liye hue (When I pass through a waterfall, I do so naked and with my clothes in my hand).”

When contacted, Prof Lal denied the allegations. “The allegations against me were politically motivated and part of a conspiracy hatched by my professional opponents,” he said, adding that his reinstatement had nothing to do with the arrival of a new government at the Centre.

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  1. Sandeep Singh
    Jun 14, 2015 at 9:39 am
    1. P
      Prof. Ravi
      Dec 6, 2014 at 2:56 am
      There is some misstatement of facts in the report. Prof. Makkhan Lal (that's me) was made to face five inquiries -- one inquiry after another -- in quest to implicate him in the matter. While three inquiries -- Internal Complaint Committee, National Commission for Women and Inquiry conducted under CCS (CCA) Rule completely exonerated him and found him to be the victim of conspiracy, the other two inquiries clearly express their doubts on the allegation. Hon'ble High Court of Delhi had ordered as early as 08.4.2004 to stop the witch hunt and allowed him to return to his post as Prof. and Director of the Insute. Hon'ble Lt. Governor, Shri Tejendra Khanna, had ordered on 6.01.2010 that all inquiries against him are illegal and reinstated him as with honours and "all consequential benefits." In a separate order dated 22.4.2010 he had even named the conspirators involved in the matter and had ordered disciplinary actions against them. The present orders of 14.11.2014 of Hon'able Lt. Governor's directs the Government to implement his predecessor's orders.Hon'ble Lt. Governor, in his order has noted, "The repeated and failed attempts to tarnish image of Dr. Makkhan Lal can be seen as efforts to victimize him and the same tantamount to denial of natural justice." Further, "I record sever displeasure about the way orders of my predecessor dated 6.1.2010 and 2.4.2010 had been disregarded, by those who were required to implement the same or at least revert back, and expect it does not recur."Thus, it can been seen that cution of Prof. Makkhan Lal was part of the political agenda of the then State Government despite High Court's Orders, despite Lt. Governor' orders and despite having faced five inquiries -- three of which have exonerated him and two expressed doubt on the allegations.