The students of Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University (RMLNLU), Lucknow are continuing their protest even as a Judicial Inquiry Committee has been set up to look into the recent allegations of sexual harassment on campus.
A furore was sparked at the University on Monday, bringing classes to halt, when it came to light that charges of sexual harassment were levelled against two senior administrative officers. On conducting a random inspection on campus, one of the officials allegedly took videos of male and female students. Another official allegedly threatened a female student that he had a photograph of her in a compromising position.
The protest continued late into last night, in reaction to which the authorities allegedly shut down the power with a view to dispersing the crowd of students.
A Sexual Harassment Committee was formed to investigate the matter. During the initial sittings of the Committee, it was discovered that the personal assistant of one of the accused was part of the Committee and the clerk of the accused was present throughout to record the proceedings.
Moreover, the Committee was claimed to have been constituted in violation of Regulation 4(1)(c) of the UGC (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of Women Employees and Students in Higher Educational Institution) Regulation, 2015. This provision mandates the presence of three students on the Committee, something that was overlooked during its constitution.
This morning, Vice-Chancellor Prof Gurdip Singh announced to the students that a Judicial Inquiry Committee under the RML Act has been formed to probe the matter. And apparently, the students are not too pleased with his development.
The initial Committee was to be headed by former Allahabad High Court judge Justice Bhagwan Deen. However, after objections were raised regarding the proximity of the retired judge with the VC and the Registrar, he has now been replaced by another former judge, Justice Alok Kumar Singh. And even this has failed to satisfy the students. According to them, only the Chief Justice of the High Court is empowered to appoint the head of such a Committee.
For now, the protests are running into the third consecutive day. As one student of RMLNLU puts it,
“We will not stop until a new and constitutionally valid committee is set up and until all are demands are fulfilled. We have had assurances in the past but in vain. Not even a single promise was fulfilled.”
Prof Gurdip Singh was not available for comment.