Kolkata, Jan 11 IANS | 11 months ago

In the wake of cases of sexual harassment at the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) here, a section of its alumni has launched a campaign expressing loss of confidence in the administration and seeking intervention of Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam.


VC P. Ishwara Bhat has denied the allegations and said he was ready for any probe.

Entitled "Loss of confidence in the vice chancellor (VC) and request for urgent redressal", the alumni, in an online petition launched Friday, have expressed "serious doubts over the efficacy of the current leadership in retaining the academic edge that NUJS had built over the last several years".

"You may have seen several media reports which point to various instances of unrest at NUJS. We have verified many of these reports and are compelled to write to you about the sordid state of affairs in our alma mater," reads the petition addressed to Sathasivam, also the chancellor of the institution.

The alumni have also accused Bhat of going soft on cases of sexual harassment.

"In a recent case involving an allegation of sexual harassment by one employee against another, the victim accused the VC of being soft on the complainant. As a head of a national law school teaching gender justice, swift and effective redressal of the dispute should have been the norm," said the petition.

The accused in the case - assistant registrar Siddhartha Guha - was only arrested late December despite a police complaint filed in July last year.

Shamnad Basheer, who recently quit as a professor, also accused the institute of inaction in the sexual harassment of a former student, allegedly by retired Supreme Court judge and a former honorary professor A.K. Ganguly.

"Despite repeated requests, the NUJS refused to take any action in the matter saying the victim has not filed a police complaint," he said.

The VC, however, has refuted all allegations and said he was ready for any scrutiny by the CJI.

"I deny all allegations. I have always striven for improving the academic as well as overall standard of the institution. The confidence which the CJI has on me or the institute can be scrutinized any time and appropriate action may be taken. I am ready for that," said Bhat.

The development comes at a time when there are reports of yet another former student of the university writing to the CJI alleging sexual harassment by a former judge of the Supreme Court.

(Posted on 11-01-2014)