Press Release, 4.11.2008

The DTF takes serious note of the failure of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Delhi to place the reports of various inquiry committees in the meeting of the Executive Council, the highest authoritative body of the University, held on 29 October 2008. The fact that these reports are lying with him for months and that even in the past he has kept back such reports for over ten months is a cause for serious misgivings.

Many of the reports relate to inquiries conducted under Ordinance XV-D relating to sexual harassment which has stipulated time-bound inquiry and action under the Ordinance, the time period specified being a month. There are also other inquiry reports with the Vice Chancellor for many months such as one on a complaint of mental harassment of a woman research scholar allegedly by the current Head of the Department of Urdu. Without placing the report in the EC was made the Head. It is believed that it would be held back so that he could continue as the Head. The reports on complaints of sexual harassment are held back to harass either the complainant or the accused depending on the interests of those in the University administration.

It is in this context that the DTF had met the Vice Chancellor and the elected members of the Academic Council belonging to the DTF had written to him to asking him not place all the reports under his possession in the Executive Council for decision. It had also urged him to take up the responsibility of ensuring that all the committees stipulated under Ordinance XV-D are constituted. It is unfortunate that he has chosen not to play the role expected of him in helping implement the relatively young Ordinance; what is worse is that he has participated in its pulverization. In the absence of proper committees, the Vice Chancellor himself has been constituting adhoc committees and the legalities of such committees have been questioned. The case of the complaint against Professors in the Department of Hindi is one example.

The refusal to uphold the rule of law and ensure fair play is a serious issue. The DTF urges the Vice Chancellor to ensure that every complaint is duly addressed irrespective of who has made the complaint and who is the accused. Only a routine system of time-bound inquiry and action in each case would create an environment where victims would not hesitate to come forward and where the enabling provisions would not be misused.

The text of the letter written to Prof. Deepak Pental, Vice Chancellor on 24 October 2008 by Rajib Ray, Abha Dev Habib, Bhupinder Chaudhury, Sanjeev Kumar and Najma Rehmani, all elected AC members belonging to the DTF is as follows: [see here]

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