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Sexual harassment case: JNU official pulled up by court

Justice Singh directed police to ensure that JNU’s administrative building is not blocked by protesting students so there can be proper functioning of the varsity from tomorrow, and that protests should be held beyond 100 metres from the building.

Written by Pritam Pal Singh | New Delhi | Updated: December 12, 2019 9:24:18 am
jnu sexual harassment case, jnu professor sexual assault case, jawaharlal nehru university, jnu news, delhi city news Jawaharlal Nehru University (File Photo)

The Delhi High Court Wednesday expressed displeasure over the failure of the JNU Registrar to produce relevant files related to a sexual harassment case filed by a PhD student against two professors, and ordered that the same be done within five days, or there would be “serious consequences”.

The court was irked after JNU Registrar Dr Pramod Kumar informed that he was unable to access files and relevant documents of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) since the administrative block has been closed down completely.

Justice Prathiba M Singh however said there was an order passed on September 12 that an affidavit be filed by the Registrar within two weeks, during which there was no lockdown of JNU’s administrative office.

“Be that as it may, considering that JNU is a functioning university, such a lockdown of the university building cannot be permitted. Moreover, in the present case, the petitioner (the student) has raised serious allegations in respect of two professors and a decision is yet to be taken on her representation for re-registration in the PhD course,” the court said.

It asked the Registrar to file his affidavit and produce the files within five days, failing which “would entail serious consequences, especially in respect of the two professors who are stated to have been deputed to other organisations/institutions”.

Justice Singh directed police to ensure that JNU’s administrative building is not blocked by protesting students so there can be proper functioning of the varsity from tomorrow, and that protests should be held beyond 100 metres from the building.

“The police shall provide adequate protection to the V-C, Registrar and all other staff for entering the administrative block of the JNU building. The police authorities shall ensure that the 100-metre area is cordoned off, in whatever manner, so as to ensure that the administrative block is accessible to the staff and administration of JNU, and non-agitating students are also not inconvenienced,” the court said.

The woman’s advocate, Dibyanshu Pandey, alleged in the court that despite a recommendation by the ICC from August 2018 that a competent authority reconsider her application for a PhD programme, authorities were neither accepting nor rejecting the same. The JNU counsel argued that the admissions committee reconsidered the woman’s application and decided in September 2018 to not recommend her for the PhD course.

The woman’s counsel said no such order by the admissions committee was communicated to the woman, who has been evicted from campus.

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