The high court on Thursday directed the IIT Kharagpur director to appear in court on December 20 after expressing its dissatisfaction with the report he had submitted last week on steps the institution had taken in regard to what appeared to the court as a clear case of “ragging”, some lawyers involved in the case said.
The court had sought the report while hearing a case on the death of Faizan Ahmed, a third-year student whose body was found in a hostel room on October 14. The police in their report on the death said that on February 4, the student had written a letter alleging that senior students were disturbing him. The names of two students were mentioned in that letter, the police report said.
Since the IIT director, despite being asked by the court to mention the names of the students “involved in the ragging” in his report, did not mention about the complaint, Justice Rajasekhar Mantha asked the director to be physically present in the court.
The court was “dissatisfied” with the report that the director had submitted, Aniruddha Mitra, one of the lawyers representing Faizan’s family, said.
“The court had earlier said a ‘warning’ to students involved in ragging does not appear to be in ‘consonance with the directions of the Supreme Court’. It had ordered the director to file a report stating the steps it had taken — based on the Supreme Court’s guidelines — in regard to an ‘assimilation programme’ that Faizan’s family had termed as ragging,” said Mitra.
“But the report did not contain what the court sought.”
Calls and text messages to the IIT director, V.K. Tewari, failed to elicit any response.
R.N. Mazumder, a lawyer representing the IIT, said: “The IIT Kharagpur director took adequate steps.”
Told that Justice Mantha expressed his dissatisfaction with the report submitted by the director, the lawyer said: “I won’t comment since it is a sub-judice matter.”
Court sources said that when the judge sought to know from the lawyer about the steps the IIT had taken following the receipt of a complaint of ragging, the lawyer kept quiet.
While commenting on the director's report before the court, lawyers representing Faizan’s family mentioned: “Thus while the director's report is silent about the ragging, in the said letter of DOSA (dean of students’ affairs), there is mention of complaints (other than of Faizan) in respect of February 2022incidents, as well as instances and complaints of September 2022. The said letter seems to corroborate the content of the now-deleted Facebook post, regarding the RP Hall (RPH) council elections in August-September.”
An email sent to all the students at the hostel by the warden's office in February said the team of RPH wardens “are receiving complaints (NOT anonymous)” that the second-year UG students “are being physically and mentally harassed” by a group of seniors, including hall council members (HCM).
The mail said the warden's office had taken strong note of those complaints and had instructed the council members to stop “such unethical practice/menace with immediate effect”.
“In spite of the direction of the court, the director has not named the students involved in the ragging,” the lawyer for the student’s family submitted.