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Court raps state for laxity on ragging

Calcutta, Dec. 5: The high court today expressed its displeasure over the state’s attitude in giving effect to the anti-ragging act and directed the government to take all possible steps to make people, especially students, aware of the consequence of the offence.

A bench of Chief Justice A.K. Mathur and Justice A.K. Bannerjee also directed the government to initiate criminal proceedings against students guilty of ragging. The order followed a public interest litigation filed by advocate Tapas Bhanja alleging that the government had taken no action against guilty students.

The petitioner also told the judges that the government did not carry out an earlier order of the court in this regard. A division bench of Justices Mukulgopal Mukherjee and Gitesh Ranjan Bhattacharya had directed the government on December 21, 1992, to make arrangements to amend the Indian Penal Code to bring ragging under the purview of the criminal act.

In August this year, the division bench of Mathur and Bannerjee asked the state to file an affidavit. The government said in the affidavit the Anti-ragging Act, 2000, had been enacted. Government pleader Rabilal Moitra told the court that the law prescribed imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 5,000 for guilty students. “The accused students will also be rusticated from their institutions and not be allowed to secure admission in other colleges.”

But Moitra failed to produce in court a copy of the law. The court finally expressed doubts about the existence of the law. “It appears that there is no such act at all.” A copy was in court today and the judges said the government must ensure that the people know about the law’s existence.

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