An internal committee constituted by Ambedkar University, Delhi (AUD) has reportedly found Lawrence Liang, the Dean of its School of Law, Governance and Citizenship, guilty of sexual harassment.
According to a report published on the Asia Times (AT) website, Lawrence was found guilty of sexually harassing a woman who was pursuing a doctorate at another University in Delhi. Reportedly, Liang was found to have been involved in other incidents of sexual harassment.
In a statement to Bar & Bench, Liang said that he has appealed against the recommendations of the Committee for Prevention of Sexual Harassment (CPSH) at Ambedkar.
“The Committee for Prevention of Sexual Harassment (CPSH) at Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) has conducted proceedings in which I was the defendant. The CPSH has given a report and made certain recommendations. This is only one part of the process provided by the CPSH rules. Those rules provide that both/either party can appeal the recommendations. I informed the CPSH and AUD of my intention to appeal immediately on receipt of the report.
I have not commented so far on the matter because of CPSH confidentiality rules. I can, and must, however, say this – I dispute the report in its entirety, its findings and recommendations included.”
He has also stated that he has not been able to respond to the report, in light of confidentiality rules of the procedure.
“Some persons have initiated selective leaks. These persons know that I have signed confidentiality rules and cannot respond. Selective leaks demonize, cause a media trial, and proclaim guilt in advance.
I am passionately committed to AUD, and have worked hard to build the School that I am a part of, and I intend to exhaust every channel open to me to clear my name.”
According to the committee’s report, the first incident occurred on April 8 or 9 of 2015, when the complainant met Liang, who was attending a conference in Delhi.
It is reported that Liang forcibly kissed the complainant, despite being told to stop several times. There were more such incidents wherein Liang allegedly groped and kissed her when she went to pick him up for an after party, and sent her flirtatious text messages thereafter.
AT reported that the victim had alleged that Liang harassed her again in February 2016, when he was in Delhi to deliver a lecture at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). She alleged that he had kissed and hugged her in a way that was unwelcome at the time.
The committee had also examined two other cases involving interns who had worked with Liang when he was with the Alternative Law Forum (ALF) in Bengaluru.
According to AT, the victim decided to file a compliant in September 2017, after hearing of similar incidents involving Liang. The committee reportedly submitted a final report on the incident on February 20 this year, four months after the victim filed a complaint.
The committee has reportedly stopped short of suspending Liang, but has asked him to relinquish his administrative duties. They also warned that he would be suspended from service if there were any more complaints.
Liang is an alumnus of the National Law School of India Univerity (NLSIU) in Bengaluru, and founder of the think tank, Alternative Law Forum (ALF).
He has won accolades for his his work in the human rights and free speech space. He is also the author of books such as Sex, Laws and Videotape, The Public is Watching and Guide to Open Content Licenses, which have won critical acclaim.
He was recently awarded the 2017 Infosys Prize in the field of Social Sciences.
Image taken from here.
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