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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 procedureNLU 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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Like +3 Object -0 Darkseid 28 Oct 18, 17:41
It's a good initiative to have included the NGO list here, Kian. A lot of people may benefit from this.
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Like +11 Object -8 Guest 28 Oct 18, 19:15  controversial
To all the militant #MeToo feminists: Stop targeting immature, powerless students who are barely adults. Please focus your energies on the powerful, senior bigshots who are getting away: judges, senior lawyers, Lawrence Liang and the NLSIU faculty member named in Raya Sarkar's list. Between a traffic cop who takes a 100 rupee bribe, and a senior CBI official who takes a 100 crore bribe, it i smog important to target the latter if you want to clean the system.
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2.1
Like +12 Object -1 Guest 28 Oct 18, 22:07  interesting
Not standing up to harassers merely because they are students encourages entitled behaviour, and they will be the hot shots and the powerful of tomorrow. It's also incorrect to say that #MeToo has not affected bigshots. MJ Akbar's resignation and Nana Patekar's ignominy are a result of the same movement you demean. Not that it works always. Take Kavanaugh, for example.

If the young man is indeed guilty of harassment, he should take his knocks, learn his lesson, not repeat what he did, and toughen up. Unless the accusations are severe, it is unlikely he'll suffer insurmountable consequences.

Many women victims feel exactly as he does, perhaps worse. If every woman killed herself due to harassment, or victimisation, only the male population would be left.

That said, I do have some sympathy for him, and everyone deserves fair process. If he is innocent, NLUD would have much to answer for.
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2.1.1
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Like +2 Object -3 A1 29 Oct 18, 08:41
You are correct. Suicide cannot be an excuse and he deserves criticism and no sympathy if guilty.
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Like +0 Object -0 Mx. X 29 Oct 18, 10:22
Nonsense!
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Like +3 Object -1 Rubbish 29 Oct 18, 10:24
What total unadulterated crap is this guest posting. Those who have been harassed by big shots will take on the big shots. Those who have been harassed by small shots will take on the small shots. Utter rubbish to call a student harasser as "powerless." Rather, this author seems to be a "militant #MeToo feminist" herself who has a personal agenda against some (perhaps innocent) big shot and wants the whole wide world to rally around her!
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Like +0 Object -0 Hooey 11 Nov 18, 15:16
Nice way to pivot away from NLUD to NLS.

Try harder.
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Like +0 Object -0 Why 11 Nov 18, 15:17
Let the punishment befit the crime.
The fact that he is a student doesn't make the alleged crime any less heinous.
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Like +1 Object -3 Guest 29 Oct 18, 08:40
Please do not criticise NLUD. The students had the guts to take on their harasses and the admin promptly initiated an inquiry. At NLSIU and some other colleges, sexual harassment, misogyny and ragging have got a free pass for many years, from both students and admin.
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Like +2 Object -4 Guest 29 Oct 18, 08:50
One person who escaped #MeToo is NLSIU Prof V Nagaraj for his comments shaming girls wearing shorts. Had this happened in 2018 the outcome would have been very different.

www.legallyindia.com/lawschools/nlsiu-20160406-7408
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Like +2 Object -0 Seriously? 29 Oct 18, 15:59
And this is how you turn a sublime movement into an absurdity. It's people like commentor #4 who will ensure that #MeToo loses its intensity.
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Like +2 Object -0 Guest 29 Oct 18, 17:54
There [must be physical contact] having an [undertone of sexual nature] to constitute 'sexual harassment' under the 2013 Act. An altercation in the context of unwelcoming environment prevailing at the workplace is not a case of sexual harassment. [see Shanta Kumar v. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research & Ors, Delhi High Court ((2018) 156 FLR 719)]

The act or behavior must be connected with sexual harassment including allegations of promise, threat or an offensive or hostile work environment towards female employees. A [solitary allegation of intemperate language against a female employee in a report does not constitute] an offence under the 2013 Act. [see K.P. Anil Rajagopal v. State of Kerala, Kerala High Court ((2018) 1 KLJ 106)]

Prof Nagaraj was in the wrong. He had to apologize because of his actions. However, he did not escape anything. There was no physical contact in his case, it seemed more like intemperate language.
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Like +0 Object -0 Try harder 11 Nov 18, 15:20
This is just a pedestrian attempt at pivoting attention from NLUD to NLS.

Nagraj made an unfortunate statement. He apologised for it. That is nothing compared to the allegations emerging from NLUD.

Try harder.
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Like +1 Object -0 Guest 12 Nov 18, 22:33
Then what about the Prem Ayyathurai incidents, some of which happened when he was a student? And why has not even one NLSIU alum spoken about Lawrence Liang?
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Like +1 Object -1 Worth noting 13 Nov 18, 09:27
Please stop expecting the NLS folks to ever speak against Lawrence Liang .. they will speak on every other problem on Earth, but him :(
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Like +3 Object -3 Chamcha 29 Oct 18, 13:39
If M J AKbar meeting someone in bathrobe or boxers is sexual harassment, then coming to classroom in those shorts is sexual harassment of Proof. Nagraj and all the male students who happened to be straight
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Like +1 Object -0 Guest 29 Oct 18, 18:03
I just replied to commentator # 4. He was wrong from one end of the spectrum. You might be wrong from the other.

MJ Akbar coming out in a bathrobe/boxer may well turn out to be an act with a sexual undertone. Other facts of the matter will have to build-out that fact (see case law above).

A female student coming to class in shorts is quite common and accepted in the age/place/institution where the incident happened. Therefore, unless you can prove sexual undertone specific to her case, it is not sexual harassment.

UGC (Prevention, prohibition and redressal of sexual harassment of women employees and students in higher educational institutions) Regulations, 2015 - 3.2 (1) puts an onus on the Internal Complaint Committees of institutions of higher learning to stay up-to-date with the evolving field of sexual harassment law based on the latest judgments of the various courts. I hope the various ICC's called upon to look into various matters across the country and doing so.

PS: I was formerly a member of an ICC at a prominent NLU and I do not believe that all members were making the effort required in this regard.
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