The Indian Institute of Management, Indore (IIM-I) has been blamed by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) for failing to provide a ‘conducive atmosphere’ to its Scheduled Caste (SC) student, Sakshika Raghav.
Raghav had joined a five-year integrated programme in management (IPM) course of IIM-I in 2012. Her first-year CGPA (scores of all three semesters) had fallen short of the required CGPA as she had done badly in non-management subjects such as swimming, Bhagwad Gita etc. She was asked to reappear or leave IIM-I and opted to quit.
Later, filing a complaint with NCSC, Raghav blamed the institute for her poor performance in three semesters of the first year. She had also alleged that the IIM-I programme did not have the requisite approvals as IIM-I didn’t have degree-granting status. The institute, however, she alleged, had not given her this information when admitting her.
Agreeing with Raghav, Raju Parmar, NCSC member, in an order on June 23, 2015, after hearing both the parties, said the fee for the full year paid by Raghav during admission had to be refunded. The “reason was that Sakshika was not provided conducive atmosphere in the institute resulting (in) bad performance by her in 1st semester. I, therefore, recommend for refund of full fees,” Parmar said.
Sakshika’s father, TD Raghav, a retired scientist, alleges that despite the NCSC order issued almost eight months ago, IIM-I did not refund what he claimed was Rs 3.8 lakh for the first year (all three semesters). Money for the fourth semester was taken in advance. According to the course structure, a student is supposed to pass three semesters in the first year (first, second and third), three semesters in the second (fourth, fifth and sixth) and the remaining three semesters in the third year (seventh, eighth and ninth) to get a diploma. The other two years are for completing a postgraduate diploma programme in management and the full fee then was Rs 23 lakh.
IIM-Indore claims to have refunded about Rs 1,83,453 to Raghav (including caution money) for the fourth semester which she had not attended. When contacted, Prof Rishikesh T Krishnan, director, IIM-I, said that the NCSC recommendation had been placed before the B-school’s board of governors (BoG). As per the board’s advice ‘proportionate refund’ of charges paid by Raghav had to be refunded for the duration (of course) not attended.
“Accordingly, the institute has refunded to her the entire tuition fees of the fourth term along with the pro-rata hostel charges, mess fee and caution money amounting to `1,83,453 on October 30, 2015. She has acknowledged receipt of the same. This has been informed to the NCSC as well immediately after the payment was made,” says Krishnan.
Responding to NCSC’s order that says a “conducive atmosphere” for studies was not provided to Raghav, Krishnan said a committee had been formed to ascertain whether she had been subjected to mental stress, trauma and harassment during her stay at IIM-I.
“In spite of the committee’s best efforts, there was no response received from Ms Sakshika. The committee went through the available records and in the absence of any other inputs, it was of the view that there were no instances which indicated that Ms Sakshika was subjected to mental stress, trauma and harassment during the period of her stay in the institute. The committee recommended that the matter be treated as closed,” he added.
Krishnan also said that the institute was fully committed to providing a conducive work environment to all its students and would not tolerate any instances of harassment on any grounds whatsoever.”
Determined to fight back, TD Raghav alleges his daughter had been mentally harassed and that he would take the fight to the Delhi High Court. He also alleged that the institute had written to Miranda House where Raghav had been studying before leaving the programme mid-way to join IIM-I.
IIM-I had asked Raghav’s former institute why she was pursuing two degree courses at one time (against rules) “Isn’t this harassment? When IIM-I’s own programme is not a degree course, how can an institute write about this to another college? What’s the intent behind doing so?” he asked.