In a tragic chain of events, a student of the National Law University, Delhi (NLUD) attempted to commit suicide on Wednesday, apparently on account of the biased treatment meted out to him by an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) with respect to a complaint made against him.
The student is out of danger now after receiving treatment at a nearby hospital.
Prior to his suicide attempt, the student sent out an e-mail addressed to the University’s Vice-Chancellor and members of the ICC, communicating his intent to commit suicide.
As per a source, within minutes of the e-mail being sent out, people immediately broke into the student’s room, where he had consumed poison to end his life, and rushed him to the hospital.
A complaint had been made against him for events said to have transpired during Kairos, NLUD’s cultural and literary fest. In connection with the same, the ICC had issued notice to the student earlier this year.
In the e-mail authored by the student – a screenshot of which is with Bar & Bench – serious allegations against members of the ICC have been raised, calling them out for having facilitated the falsification of records and demonising the student. As per the e-mail, the ICC even refused to allow him to present arguments or witnesses to prove that he had been falsely implicated by the complainants.
It states that the ICC also resorted to tampering with the written records of the hearing and altered material facts in the verdict, in effect acting as an advocate for the complainants. This, it is stated, despite there being serious contradictions in the account put forward by the complainants.
After the publication of this story, the University administration issued a statement to Bar & Bench, stating that the student had not attempted suicide but rather that he had been hospitalised after accidentally consuming a mixture of Dettol and water. As per the e-mail, the student has also given a statement to the police to this effect.
The e-mail, as received on October 26, 8:51 (IST) states as follows,
“1. The expression ‘Attempt to Suicide’ in your news report is improper in view of the law and the statement made by the person concerned, as far as I am aware and authenticate.
2. As gathered, the concerned student himself gave the statement to the police stating it to be an accidental consumption of some liquid (Dettol mixed water assuming it to be water). It is denied to be the case of attempted suicide as per the statement recorded by the police. He was immediately rushed to the hospital and as per doctors, he was out of danger in the next few hours. He has reportedly recovered fully and is under observation. He is likely to be discharged tomorrow (on 27 October 2018).
3. Through his various emails, it appears that he had rectifiable grievances against ICC. It is also stated that ICC functions directly with the mandate of ‘UGC Grants Commission (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of Women Employees and Students in Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations 2015’ and ‘The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013’
4. Further, ICC as a quasi-judicial institution under the act is independent of university administration and the university administration exercises no control over it.
5. In the event of grievances against ICC, the Act itself provides the remedies. The findings of ICC can be challenged in the appropriate forum as per the legal provisions.
6. The University functions in the best interest of students and in the present case all possible measures including cost of treatment was borne by the University.”
An ICC member contacted by Bar & Bench earlier had declined to comment on anything do to with the working of the ICC, citing statutory requirements to keep all matters pertaining to ICC proceedings confidential.
Note: This is a revised version of the story, originally published on October 26, 7:09 pm (IST). The story has since been updated with the University administration’s response. Certain e-mail extracts have also been removed from the story owing to their sensitive content.