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‘St Stephen’s punishment to teacher who harassed student inadequate’

The College Complaints Committee of the Delhi University has expressed displeasure over the ‘inadequate’ punishment given by the St. Stephen’s College to a Sanskrit teacher in a sexual harassment case.

Written by Hamari Jamatia | New Delhi |
March 17, 2009 11:39:15 pm

The College Complaints Committee (CCC) of the Delhi University has expressed displeasure over the ‘inadequate’ punishment given by the St. Stephen’s College to a Sanskrit teacher in a sexual harassment case.

The CCC was set up by the Delhi University to investigate sexual harassment cases on campus under Ordinance XV (D).

According to member Pragati Mohapatra,they had found Dr C B Jha guilty of sexually harassing a US student.

Mohapatra said while the committee had prescribed several punishments for the teacher,all severe ones were set aside by the college’s governing body. The committee had recommended the following punishment for Jha — a letter of apology,removal from the student advisory board,barring from teaching foreign students,reduction of two increments and signing of bond of good behaviour.

“The governing body of the college asked him to sign the bond of good behaviour,the easiest one of the punishments. This gives a message that the college is not serious about taking action against those accused in sexual harassment cases,” she said. Mohapatra,who teaches in the Indraprastha College,was also part of the enquiry committee that investigated the case.

The committee held a meeting on Friday to discuss the issue.

“We also met the college principal Valson Thampu,who confirmed the punishment given to Jha. Now we are planning to write to the Apex Committee For Sexual Harassment,the Vice Chancellor and the Dean of Colleges to take action,” Mohapatra said.

The CCC had submitted their report to St Stephen’s College in April last year.

Meanwhile,Jha and members of the college’s governing body refused to comment on the issue. However,a teacher said the college should have taken the CCC recommendations seriously. “The CCC is an independent body which convicted the accused after going through the evidences. It is plain mockery of the committee to not accept its recommendations,” the teacher said.

The case surfaced in December 2007 after a student of the Rutgurs University complained to the CCC. Subsequently,a sub- committee was appointed to inquire into the matter.

The Enquiry Committee (EC) comprised four members: Dr Amrita Tulika,Dr Pragati Mohapatra,Prof R Gopinath and Ruchira Sen. The EC held several meetings between December 11,2007 and February 21,2008 and examined written and oral testimonies of 15 persons,including those of the complainant and the accused.

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