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#MeToo accounts bubble up on NLSIU noticeboard, as EC finally affirmed two SH punishments after multi-year-waits

The 2016 order in one of the NLS SH cases
The 2016 order in one of the NLS SH cases

NLSIU Bangalore students have posted several new accounts and allegations of sexual harassment and assault by other students on the law school’s virtual internal noticeboard over the last week.

This follows the executive council (EC) last month finally affirming the punishments of offenders in two long-running sex harassment cases (see details below).

The noticeboard posts, inspired by the wider #metoo movement that has been reinvigorated in India in recent weeks, had resulted in online discussions around the topic amongst the student body, as well as apparently in some apologies by alleged offenders. Due to it being the middle of term holidays, the administration has not been involved.

The Student Bar Association (SBA) told us in a statement: “It’s a proud moment for the student body at NLS as a lot of people have spoken against sexual harassment in their past by fellow students.

“This movement has seen a widespread support from the student body towards each of the survivors.

“This is helping us to cope together as a student body and working towards making NLS a safer place for everyone.”

While college was currently closed for trimester holidays, the SBA added that when classes resume it intends to approach counselors and mental health professionals to help the survivors cope.

At NLU Delhi, #metoo has made big waves after Facebook posts by survivors went viral, causing St Stephens, Delhi University, to ban male NLU Delhi debaters and for the administration to react and vow improvement of the situation on campus.

After years, two SH cases now finally closed

The latest NLSIU #metoo moments follow the NLS’ executive council (EC) decision to affirm the permanent expulsion and temporary suspension for one trimester of two students respectively under the NLSIU governing act at its meeting on 15 September, following student and some faculty pressure.

The NLS Feminist Alliance, an NLS student-run feminist group, had staged a sit-in open meeting to coincide with the EC meeting, in solidarity with survivors of sexual violence on campus and to ensure that the rustication orders would be enforced.

One of the cases had started nearly two years ago, after a complaint was first made in December 2016.

The NLS Feminist Alliance had also noted in its email to students that just completing the inquiries had in one case had taken nearly a year, and more than three-and-a-half years in another.

The process had dragged on further, in early 2018, due to one of the accused’s appeal to the National Commission for Scheduled Caste (NCSC), which stayed the rustication order that had been affirmed by vice chancellor Prof Venkata Rao on 23 January 2018. This stay was later stayed by the high court.

In April 2018, students petitioned NLS alumni to exert pressure on the administration to expedite the process.

It is understood that Prof VS Elizabeth brought up the affirmation of the rustication at the EC meeting, which the rest of the EC then reviewed and upheld.

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