Court relief for sacked professor
The Delhi High Court has set aside a Delhi University order removing Professor Bidyut Chakrabarty from the post of Dean, Social Sciences, and other administrative responsibilities on charges of allegedly sexually harassing a junior colleague in April 2007.delhi Updated: Jun 25, 2009 02:04 IST
The Delhi High Court has set aside a Delhi University order removing Professor Bidyut Chakrabarty from the post of Dean, Social Sciences, and other administrative responsibilities on charges of allegedly sexually harassing a junior colleague in April 2007.
The university’s Apex Committee that inquired into the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against Prof. Chakrabarty by an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) working under him at Gandhi Bhawan had concluded that the charges were true.
Based on the committee’s findings, on October 16, 2007, the university had issued a memorandum asking Prof. Chakrabarty to quit all his positions - Dean, Social Sciences, Head of Department, Political Science and Director, Gandhi Bhawan.
But now the Delhi High Court has set aside the DU memorandum that also debarred him from any administrative post and supervising duties for the next three years.
A Bench headed by Justice A K Sikri rubbished the findings of the Apex Committee on the ground that the petitioner (Prof Chakrabarty) was not given an opportunity of a verbal cross-examination of the witnesses examined by the committee. Even the copies of their statements were not supplied to him, the court said.
“The action taken against the petitioner without following even the basic principles of natural justice is liable to be struck down,” the bench said rubbishing the Apex Committee report.
“We set aside the office memorandum date October 16 2007.”
“No opportunity was given to the petitioner to produce defence witnesses,” the court said, adding,
“We are of the view that the inquiry against the petitioner was conducted in gross violation of the principles of natural justice”.
The court said, “Neither the petitioner was given any opportunity to cross examine the complainant and other witnesses nor was he asked to state his defence and produce witnesses in his defence”.
Professor Chakrabarty told HT, “I am happy that the court has absolved me of the charges of sexual harassment.”
He said, “The University did not consider the findings of the Kanwar Sen Committee formed in August, 2007 to inquire into the charges made by me against the woman in question, who was not coming to work on time. I had issued a show cause notice to her, as a consequence she accused me of sexually harassing her.”