She should be barred from the JNU campus, her degree should be withdrawn and she should never be employed at the university. These are among the recommendations of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) against the complainant in a case of sexual harassment against her PhD guide.
After the student filed a complaint against her guide on April 12 this year, alleging she was “molested, sexually harassed and threatened” by her professor, the ICC last month called her complaint “frivolous” and recommended a series of punitive measures against her. The JNU Vice-Chancellor is yet to take a final call on the ICC report.
The recommendations, dated November 5 and signed by ICC Presiding Officer Vibha Tandon, said, “The complainant should be completely debarred from entering in the JNU campus. She shall not be allowed to take up any course or employment in the JNU in future. She should not be allowed to enter in the JNU campus to attend any academic or non academic proceedings. She should not be allowed to enter in the JNU campus for her personal reasons what so ever.”
The ICC further recommended that the complainant apologises to the university and the defendant. “The JNU administration…shall not issue any character certificate and no objection certificate to the complainant in future…” the ICC said.
Tandon did not respond to calls by The Indian Express. Gautam Jha, an ICC member until a month ago, confirmed that a report in the case had been finalised but declined comment. JNU VC Jagadesh Kumar did not respond to queries.
ICC rules empower the body to take action against the complainant “if the ICC concludes that the allegations made were false, malicious or the complaint was made knowing it to be untrue, or forged or misleading information has been provided during the inquiry”. However, it adds that “malicious intent on the part of the complainant shall not be established without an inquiry”.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the complainant said: “The ICC was hostile to me from the beginning and had told me not to travel abroad. I’ve submitted my PhD but I’m yet to receive my degree because of which I haven’t been able to apply for a post-doctoral fellowship or a teaching job. The way they have barred me from campus and said I should be escorted by guards, I feel like I’m the criminal,” she said.
The ICC also recommended that “In case if the complainant needs to come to the JNU campus for the purpose of inquiry, she will have to give prior intimation to the Proctor Office…She will inform the chief security officer about her entry and exit from JNU campus. The complainant will be escorted by two female security guards.”
The ICC said that “the Academic Council may initiate proceedings to withdraw the degree of the complainant” and that her “degree shall be put on hold till the Academic Council concludes its proceedings”.