Apart from compulsory retirement, professor SK Gupta will also lose one third of his pension and gratuity.
The professor at the Centre for Environmental Science and Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) was found guilty of sexually harassing a project assistant in August 2009 and given compulsory retirement on March 12, 2010.
The Hindustan Times was the first to report on January 31 that the Human Resource Development minister, Kapil Sibal, had rejected Gupta’s appeal to revoke his compulsory retirement.
In December 2008, a woman project assistant approached a student counselor alleging that Gupta was harassing her. She filed a formal complaint on January 21, 2009.
“After weeks of verifying and ascertaining facts, a suspension order was issued for professor Gupta. The inquiry started in March 2009,” said a statement issued by IIT-B on Monday.
While Gupta said that he was not even given a charge sheet, the institute said they had followed all norms laid down by the Supreme Court for dealing with cases of sexual harassment.
“In cases of sexual harassment, the complaint committee of the Women’s Cell is competent enough to start the inquiry with just a complaint. In such cases the complaint itself is treated as a charge sheet,” said the statement.
A copy of the complaint was also given to Gupta and he got a chance to cross-examine the victim and other witnesses.
In the institute, there are a few students who think that Gupta is innocent. “He seemed very decent. He had been with the institute for more than a decade and suddenly we heard this about him. We were very surprised,” said a student.
This is the first time that a professor at IIT-B has been asked to leave after being charged of sexual harassment. There have been earlier cases too but they have been resolved at the institute level. For instance, about five years ago, students had complained about a professor making inappropriate jokes in class. The professor was sternly warned not to repeat the act.