The Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) constituted to examine claims of sexual harassment at the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata (NUJS) submitted an interim report to the NUJS Executive Council. At a meeting held on September 14, 2013 the Executive Council directed the ICC to complete the report and submit its final findings in a few weeks time.
As per NUJS Registrar, Dr. Surajit Mukhopadhyay, the ICC was earlier given a deadline of September 12, 2013 to furnish a report.
The ICC, consisting of Associate Professors Anirban Mazumdar and Ruchira Goswami as well as Anindita Talapatra (Academics & Examination Department) was constituted to look into complaints of sexual harassment made by a member of the NUJS administrative staff against an NUJS employee.
The victim filed a written complaint nearly two years after the alleged harassment started; an alleged harassment that was initially limited to verbal harassment but soon went on to include harassment through e-mails and SMS’s. A verbal complaint to the Vice Chancellor resulted in the employee receiving an oral warning from Vice Chancellor Bhatt. In February this year, when the employee did not desist, the victim complained to the Registrar. Following this, the employee received another verbal warning.
In May this year, the employee allegedly assaulted the victim on the university premises, an act that proved to be the final straw. The victim filed a written complaint with the Registrar, following which the employee was suspended and the ICC was formed. As per sources with NUJS, the ICC had two hearings, one on July 18, 2013 and the other on August 20, 2013. At these hearings, the statements of the parties concerned were recorded.
Meanwhile, on July 26, 2013 the victim also initiated the filing of an FIR against the employee after learning that there may be a possibility that the employee would be allowed back on campus. The employee filed an anticipatory bail application before the District Court that was dismissed. It is reliably learnt that the employee is in the process of approaching the High Court in appeal against this dismissal.
Speaking to Bar & Bench, Registrar Mukhopadhyay said that the details of the interim report could not be revealed at the present time but did say that the Executive Council had given certain directions to the ICC in this regard. He also clarified that the institute was not bound by the ICC’s findings. Vice Chancellor Bhatt could not be reached for comment. With the month-long vacations in October, in all likelihood, the final report will only be examined in November this year.