The University Grants Commission (UGC) on Wednesday issued a belated but harsh message against ragging, backing a ban on the practice with measures ranging from disciplinary action to sensitizing students.
The regulations come in the wake of a May 8 Supreme Court order against the practice, while hearing the petition of Rajender Kachroo, whose son Aman (19) was killed in the course of ragging on March 8 in Himachal Pradesh.
A central committee had found that there was complete failure by authorities to implement existing anti-ragging regulations.
The UGC introduced a few independent mechanisms to look at complaints. This starts with a national toll-free helpline, to be functional from June 15.
The helpline — equipped with a database of institutions and their anti-ragging authorities — is expected to alert a staff member on the campus immediately, as well as the local police.
At the start of each academic year, every student and parent will have to sign an anti-ragging undertaking, provided in the regulations.
Each institution will have counselors to guide freshers through the early months of campus life. The UGC also called for the setting up of anti-ragging committees and squads.
The regulations add that burden of proof will lie on the alleged perpetrator/s, not victim/s. Punishment, if ragging is proved, range from suspension to expulsion to a fine, which can go up to Rs 2.5 lakh.
The regulations also empower the UGC to withhold grants or withdraw recognition from any institution that doesn’t implement the law. A UGC committee, with representatives from the IITs and IIMs, will meet twice a year to monitor the functioning of the regulations.