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NUJS ‘slapgate’ student and teacher amicably resolve dispute; admin found wanting

NUJS admin: 'Frustrating'
NUJS admin: 'Frustrating'

NUJS Kolkata graduate Adreeka Pandey and assistant professor Lovely Dasgupta have amicably settled their differences, after the law school’s failure to resolve Pandey’s complaint of physical assault against Dasgupta almost led to her filing a criminal complaint against Dasgupta and the NUJS administration.

Dasgupta said: “I had a talk with Adreeka and she has accepted my apology. Both of us, yesterday night, had a really good conversation and are on very good terms now. This incident really taught me how to deal with students. Whatever be the situation, my behaviour was not called for.”

“I have told her that I will remove myself from all the student-related committees. As of now I am on the moderation committee. I will resign from it,” she said.

Pandey had asked the NUJS administration for a disciplinary inquiry against Dasgupta, after Dasgupta slapped Pandey on 30 April when she insisted on writing her final-year exam despite entering the examination room several minutes late. Dasgupta was invigilating at the exam and had apologised to her orally and in writing soon after the incident.

The NUJS executive council (EC) had formed a one-judge committee to inquire into the incident. In the second week of June the inquiry was closed after issuing a warning to Dasgupta, accepting a written apology from her, and letting her continue working as assistant professor at NUJS, as reported by Legally India on Tuesday.

However, Pandey claimed that the law school has to date not communicated this decision to her, despite several requests made since June. On Tuesday Pandey, who now lives in Delhi after graduating from NUJS, told Legally India that she was considering filing a formal criminal complaint at Calcutta.

Pandey said: “I am done with the complaint. I was really frustrated with the college administration and how they handled the issue. [On Tuesday] I sent them an email saying I don’t have to point out how easy it is for me to obtain a copy of the documents through an RTI. I asked them to email me a copy of the judge’s report, the EC resolution, the apology letter issued by the faculty, and the minutes of the EC meeting in which my complaint was tabled.”

“I got a one-line reply [from the registrar] that the documents shall be sent to me but I still have not received anything,” she added.

Dasgupta added: “I had given an undertaking and an unconditional apology as I was asked by the university. They should have given a copy of my apology to her, as well as [the final decision]. She deserved to have it. Personally calling her up and telling her [the result of] what she was fighting for [was called for].”

Dasgupta told Legally India that students and faculty at NUJS were presently ill-equipped to deal with disciplinary complaints such as the one lodged by Pandey against her. She said that immediately after resolution of the unrelated sexual harassment complaint at the law school, she intended to push for “institutionalised norms” to deal with such complaints and enable “good dialogue” between students and faculty members.

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