Re-register in PhD program research scholar who alleged sexual harassment by 2 profs: HC to JNU

New Delhi, Jan 8 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has directed the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to re-register in the Ph.D programme a research scholar, who had made sexual harassment allegations against two of her professors, and to also provide her with hostel facilities in the winter session commencing from this month.

Justice Pratibha M Singh gave the direction saying the manner in which the re-registration request of the scholar was being examined was 'unsatisfactory' and even the Internal Complaints Committee's (ICC) recommendations were in her favour.

'In light of the fact that the JNU has not considered the matter afresh on merits, that considerable time is elapsing in the administrative processing, and the manner in which the re-registration is being examined being unsatisfactory, the recommendation of the ICC being in favour of the petitioner (scholar), it is directed that the petitioner be given re-registration into the Ph.D. program, and hostel facilities be provided to her in the winter session commencing from January, 2020.

'Her continuation in the Ph.D. program shall be as per the rules governing the said program,' the court said.

The ICC in August 2018 had recommended that the scholar's request for registration in the Ph.D program be considered by the varsity and should not be rejected merely on ground of delay.

However, the JNU had not considered her request for re-registration despite several requests made by her, the court noted.

The ICC had also recommended censuring of the two professors for procedural and administrative lapses, under the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, and imposition of a fine of Rs 5,000 under the sexual harassment at workplace rules.

It had also recommended issuing a warning to the woman that in future she should not advertise about her complaint on social media platforms, as she had done during the ICC proceedings, since such acts damage the inquiry process, the affected parties and the image of the institution.

She had appealed against the ICC recommendations, made several representations and since no response was received, the scholar had moved the high court.

JNU told the court that her appeal had been disposed of by the Appeals Committee in September 2018, but the decision was never communicated to her.

The court said since the Appeals Committee's decision was not communicated to the scholar and as she was not even heard by it, her appeal shall be heard afresh and it be decided within a period of 30 days after giving her a hearing.

'The order which may be passed shall also be communicated to the petitioner, in order to enable her to avail her legal remedies in accordance with law, if required. The Appeals Committee shall be constituted in accordance with the applicable rules,' the court added and disposed of the woman's plea praying for an impartial enquiry into her complaint of sexual harassment.

With the directions, the court disposed of the petition and said the scholar can move the high court if she was aggrieved by the decision of the Appeals Committee. PTI HMP SKV ZMN