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NUJS teachers rally behind ‘harassed’ intern

Asok Ganguly

Twelve teachers of the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) have, in a blog, demanded “immediate steps” by the university to “dissociate itself” from Asok Ganguly, former judge of the Supreme Court and honorary lecturer accused of sexually harassing an intern.

In the blog posted on the official website of the Journal of Indian Law and Society, the teachers have said that they stand by the victim, a former student of the law school on the EM Bypass.

“Given that the former judge continues to remain an honorary professor at NUJS, we request the NUJS administration to take immediate steps to see to it that necessary action is initiated against the former judge…. Till he is exonerated from all the charges levelled by the student, the university should, at the very least, dissociate itself from him,” the blog reads.

“We believe that the position of a teacher is that of trust, and requires such a person to be above allegations of misbehaviour with students, particularly when such allegations have been found to have prima facie merit by a high-level committee constituted by the apex court. Therefore, we are seeking dissociation from Ganguly,” Ruchira Goswami, one of the teachers, told Metro.

“The Vishaka Guidelines against. Sexual Harassment at Workplace state that pending inquiry an institute can take commensurate action against the accused. We want the institute to dissociate itself from Ganguly,” she said.

The blog names the victim by name though the Supreme Court panel had refrained from doing so. “We took her consent before naming her in our post,” said Goswami, who teaches sociology at NUJS.

The blog was posted a day after the law intern said she had the “discernment to pursue appropriate proceedings at appropriate time” and rebutted Ganguly’s denial.

Goswami said the teachers were appalled at Ganguly’s statement “attributing political motives to the intern’s blog posts and deposition”. “We are particularly appalled at the insinuation… that the law intern is a political pawn. We view this as character assassination.”

NUJS students had earlier demanded that Ganguly, who has been delivering a one-hour lecture on constitutional litigation at the university every Saturday since his retirement, be dropped from the list of guest teachers as well as the general council. Some students had threatened to start an agitation if the authorities failed to take prompt action.

The teachers joined the protest on Wednesday and demanded that the executive council — the university’s highest decision-making body — take up the issue of initiating action against Ganguly in its next meeting with “utmost urgency”.

“The statement was issued to put pressure on the council to take up the matter urgently,” said Nandan Nawn, a professor, who has signed the joint statement.

The council is scheduled to meet in January.

NUJS vice chancellor P. Ishwara Bhatt had said on November 30 that the issue would be discussed at the executive council and Ganguly may be asked to quit if the council so decides.