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Six NLIU Bhopal students suspended pending investigation in ragging complaints

Six NLIU Bhopal students suspended pending investigation in ragging complaints

Bar & Bench

A week after allegations of ragging and sexual abuse surfaced at National Law Institute University (NLIU) Bhopal, six students have been suspended.

The allegations were levelled against more than thirty senior students, after six different anonymous complaints were made through the National Anti-Ragging Helpline (NARH). Out of these, six second year students have been suspended, and will not be allowed to stay in the University hostel pending the completion of an inquiry.

Prof Rajiv Kumar Khare, Proctor at the University, told Bar & Bench,

“Prima facie it appears that they may have been involved, so we suspended them, pending inquiry by the Anti-Ragging Committee, which is in progress.”

NLIU has also submitted a report of the status of the investigation to the University Grants Commission (UGC). Authorities at the University said that if the UGC anti-ragging helpline sees fit, the punishment against the students can be enhanced.

Over the past couple of weeks, the NARH has received six anonymous complaints from NLIU, with allegations including seniors forcing juniors to watch porn till five in the morning, a female senior student sexually molesting a junior repeatedly while in an inebriated state, and juniors being made to dance to vulgar songs and simulate sex acts with plants.

Even as the students face suspension, questions are raised about the procedure for dealing with ragging complaints. As per the procedure under the UGC’s Anti-Ragging Rules, on receipt of a complaint, the University is required to identify the victim and counsel her. As was with NLIU’s case, it becomes very difficult to identify the anonymous complainant, let alone test the the veracity of the complaint.

Another criticism is that the names of the students against whom complaints are filed are made public on the UGC Anti-Ragging portal. This would lead to reputations being muddied before any evidence is gathered.

NLIU Director Prof SS Singh was not available for comment at the time of publishing this story.