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NLU Assam VC JS Patil in-part retracts LI statement, steps down till harass case cleared • Faculty complain to NCW over his new 2016 allegation comments [UPDATE-1]

His counter-FIR was filed of his own initiative, Patil clarified

NLUJA Assam VC JS Patil to go on leave pending resolution
NLUJA Assam VC JS Patil to go on leave pending resolution

NLUJAA Guwahati vice-chancellor (VC) Prof JS Patil has gone on leave pending the resolution of the sexual harassment allegations against him in an FIR filed by his neighbours.

Patil has also retracted the statement he had made to Legally India yesterday that he had the support the university’s chancellor, Gauhati High Court chief justice Ajai Lamba, who had counselled him to remain as VC and to file a counter FIR.

Patil told us today in a message:

I retract the statement that I have filed FIR against the person with due permission of superior authorities. Rather I have filed FIR on my own accord.

I also retract my statement that the statement that the Chancellor has advised me to continue in office. I am going on leave until the matter is cleared.

It is understood that VCs can generally go on leave by informing a national law university’s chancellor of this decision.

Faculty allege defamation over second part of yesterday's statement

Update 15:07: 13 faculty members have made a press release in response to the another part of the comments made by Patil that we had published on Legally India yesterday, particularly over his response to historical allegations against him for allegedly sexually harassing statements made about faculty members.

The faculty members stated (full letter below):

This rejoinder is issued in response to a news item published by an online news portal, Legally India, titled “NLU Assam VC JS Patil denies, files counter FIR vs neighbours’ sex harass allegations, claims backing of CJ-chancellor”, published on Saturday, 25th July, 2020...

In the interview, Prof. Patil refutes historical allegations of using harassing language with female faculty members as well as using sexist language while talking to female faculty members. This statement of Prof. Patil is vehemently contested here.

In the past, Prof. Patil has made sexist remarks and used sexually harassing language with the members of the faculty, both female and male. The faculty members had duly submitted a petition on December 14, 2016 detailing the sexually harassing language used by Prof. Patil to the then Hon’ble Chancellor of National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam, Justice Shri Ajit Singh.

Justice Singh along with Justice Shri Hrishikesh Roy, the then member of the General Council of the University, had intervened and taken steps to ameliorate the sufferings of the faculty members.

Further, Prof. Patil states that allegations that he had used harassing language with female faculty members, had all been made to “tarnish the image of me and my University” and on being asked to respond to using sexist language in talking to female faculty members, he said that the accusation is absolutely wrong.

This is to make it clear that the petition submitted by the faculty members to the then Hon’ble Chancellor of the University regarding the sexually harassing language being used by him was not done to tarnish the reputation of the University but to be provided with a distress free environment at our workplace.

The faculty members also pointed out that the university’s registrar had backed the vice chancellor, alleging faculty members were conspiring against Patil for urging the university to file an FIR about the allegations that Patil had sexually harassed a neighbours' family.

The faculty members also took objection to Patil having stated that he had the support of the chief justice, saying that: “Such a statement would intimidate, demoralize and frighten the complainants and all those who have raised their concern on this matter.

“Such a statement may also raise concerns on whether a fair investigation of the matter would take place. We believe it is inappropriate on the part of Prof. Patil to make such statements of having the support of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court when investigation on the matter has been duly initiated by the police.”

Finally, the teachers noted that Patil’s “false, unfounded and defamatory allegations made against us in the above-mentioned news item on Legally India consternates us”, and that they had reported those commentsto the National Commission for Women.

Faculty statement against NLUJAA VC quotes denying earlier comments (PDF)

Student bar pushed for VC stepping down

The university’s student bar council (SBC) had yesterday also made a press release, which, amongst other points (see full statement below):

1. Condemns the statements made by the Vice-Chancellor which may derail the hope of a fair trial, intimidate the complainants, blame the students, faculty and staff members of conspiracy and may defame the position of the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court.

2. Reiterates it’s demand that the Vice-Chancellor shall step down from his position, temporarily, till the investigation against him is over.

SBC Press Release (PDF)

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