A research scholar at Jadavpur University whose allegations of molestation against her guide have been confirmed by a committee has written to the vice-chancellor seeking to know “what action has been taken against the respondent (the guide)”.
The Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of the university has mentioned in its report, which was handed over to VC Suranjan Das on February 12, that the teacher had “sexually harassed the complainant in spite of her discomfort”.
The scholar had quit her research after being subjected to “sexually coloured remarks” that caused “trauma that I could not take anymore”.
In the letter she sent to the VC on Sunday afternoon, the complainant wrote: “In view of the report received from the internal complaints committee and the recommendations made within, I pray before you to kindly let me know what action has been taken against the respondent.
“As a victim of sexual harassment, I have refrained from taking further legal steps independently because I have complete faith in your judgement.”
The inquiry committee’s report, copies of which were sent to the woman and the teacher, states: “The university should take disciplinary action against the respondent in terms of established misconduct committed by him as per UGC (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of Women Employees and Students in Higher Educational Institutions) regulations, 2015....”
The disciplinary action could be termination of service, withholding of promotion or increment, reprimand or censure, an official at the university said. A person indicted by the ICC can also be asked to apologise in writing, attend counselling or take part in community service.
According to the rule, an institute has to take disciplinary action within two months of the filing of the ICC report.
The university has time till April 12 to take action against the teacher, the official said.
“The university is taking legal opinion on what action could be taken. Pro vice-chancellor Pradip Kumar Ghosh is dealing with the matter. Once he gets the opinion, that will be communicated to the VC,” the official said.
VC Das refused to comment when asked whether the legal opinion had reached the university.
Amit Sen, a former dean of law at Calcutta University and former member of CU’s internal complaints committee, said the VC might table the legal opinion at a meeting of the executive council, the highest decision-making body of JU.
The council is set to meet on March 18.
“We will try to know from the VC whether the legal opinion has reached his office and whether he has decided on any disciplinary action,” said Manojit Mandal, who teaches English at JU and represents the West Bengal Higher Education Council in the executive council.