Apex court cracks whip against ragging

NEW DELHI - Taking note of the death of a student and an attempted suicide by another due to ragging, the Supreme Court Monday issued notices to the heads of two educational institutions asking why contempt proceedings should not be launched against them for failure to prevent ragging.

A bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly issued notices on a lawsuit by Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam seeking enforcement of its 2007 decree against the menace of ragging.

In his lawsuit, Subramaniam, who earlier assisted the court in adjudication of another suit on ragging, apprised the bench of the two recent incidents of ragging - at the Rajendra Prasad Medical College in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, in which medical student Aman Kachroo died on March 8, and from the Government Agriculture Engineering College at Bapatla in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh where a 20-year-old girl tried to commit suicide after she was forced by seniors to dance nude.

The bench also issued notices to the chief secretaries and the police chiefs of Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, asking them to report on the follow-up actions they have taken on the two incidents.

While the police chiefs were asked to apprise the apex court of the legal actions taken by them, the chief secretaries were asked what administrative steps they had taken against the two institutions, including cancellation of their affiliations with the universities and slashing their government funds.

The bench also issued notices to the Medical Council of India demanding to know the authenticity of allegations that a particular doctor to whom Kachroo was rushed after his seniors’ assault did not treat him properly and did not try his best to save his life.

The bench asked if the MCI was contemplating any action against the doctor.

Ironically, the bench last month reiterated its May 2007 anti-ragging order directing all educational institutions in the country to take stringent anti-ragging measures, including lodging criminal cases against erring students.

Terming ragging as ‘human rights abuse in essence’, the bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice Mukundakam Sharma had provided that criminal cases be registered against the errant students.

‘The police shall be informed immediately and criminal law set into motion (against the students found involved in ragging their juniors),’ the bench had ruled.

‘If the authorities are prima facie satisfied about the errant act of any student, they can in appropriate cases pending final decision suspend the student from the institution and hostel and give him an opportunity to have his say,’ it had said.

The bench had also ordered for a cut in financial aid to educational institutions found protecting any student involved in ragging. In its ruling, the bench approved almost all recommendations of the government-appointed committee, headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation director R.K. Raghvan.


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