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NLU Delhi says standard due process, appeal remains open to student’s suicide attempt over sex harass inquiry

NLU Delhi reacts to allegation of unfairness in sex harassment complaints procedure
NLU Delhi reacts to allegation of unfairness in sex harassment complaints procedure

NLU Delhi has released a carefully worded notice on Friday (26 October) that a student, who had allegedly tried to commit suicide on Wednesday after complaining that sexual harassment inquiry by the law school’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) against him was procedurally defective, had “recovered considerably” and that the standard appeals process against the ICC remained open to him.

The student had been in intensive care in a hospital in Dwarka, Delhi, with the university “constantly pursuing the progress of his treatment” and that he would be discharged on Saturday (27 October), according to the notice.

In the notice, marked for “internal circulation only”, the registrar said that he had held a “long meeting with students” on Friday, and “all the concerns” had been “exchanged and accordingly this response has been constructed”.

The university was “committed to follow the due process in the matter” and “would facilitate him in tiling a formal appeal against the order of ICC which is available to him as a matter of right” with NLU Delhi’s vice chancellor Prof Ranbir Singh, which must be disposed of within 90 days, or to be expedited in the interest of “speedy justice”.

It added that it accordingly affirm to take all possible measures under the purview of ‘Rule of Law’ to dispose off this matter without causing any prejudice in this matter”, and noted:

ICC functions as quasi-judicial institution independent of university administration and concerns like prejudice or bias or any other thing are addressable in the appellate forum. It is in this sense that the concerns of [student’s name] with regard to ICC findings could be incorporated in his appeal.

In his email addressed to Singh, a copy of which we have seen, the student had originally claimed that the ICC had been biased against him, acting as advocates of the complainants and that his dignity had been affected.

He had raised a number of claims of procedural defect against the ICC, only accepting after an interim application his right to make arguments before the ICC, and allegedly denying his request to have a friend represent him at the oral hearing because he had been traumatised and could barely speak on the day of the hearings.

He also claimed that the ICC had not recorded everything that had happened at the oral hearing, and that it had unfairly not considered several of his arguments.

An ICC member did not respond to our calls and messages since Thursday.

If you or someone you know needs help, please consider contacting any of a number of Indian NGOs dealing with suicide prevention listed here.

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