2 years on, Panjab University senate accepts report against professor
The case concerns assistant professor Komal Singh, former chairperson of the public administration department, who was suspended on being found guilty of sexual harassment for the fourth time.punjab Updated: Sep 25, 2017 12:21 IST
Two years after the Panjab University Committee Against Sexual Harassment (PUCASH) submitted a report indicting an assistant professor, the senate — the varsity’s apex body — on Sunday accepted it, recommending major penalty against him.
The senate, however, decided to issue him a show-cause notice before announcing the penalty, which includes dismissal from service.
The case concerns assistant professor Komal Singh, former chairperson of the public administration department, who was suspended on being found guilty of sexual harassment for the fourth time.
A postgraduate student had alleged in September 2015 that Singh had indulged in verbal misbehaviour with her. The student had appeared before the PUCASH to narrate the incident.
The PUCASH report — dated December 7, 2015, and submitted by its chairperson, Prof Nishta Jaswal — had suggested determining a major penalty on the assistant professor.
The issue was tabled in the senate meeting on April 30, 2017, when the major penalties recommended included reduction to a lower post or timescale or to a lower stage in timescale; removal from service, which does not disqualify from future employment; and dismissal from service.
The syndicate — PU’s executive body — in May 2017 had suggested his removal from service, which does not disqualify from future employment.
Most in favour of removal from service
Sharing the case background with senators, vice-chancellor Professor Arun Kumar Grover said: “He (Komal Singh) was doing it repeatedly. We could not let him be in contact with women students.”
“I had removed him from his department, got him transferred.... told him to get medical attention and come back rehabilitated,” said the V-C. “Repeated incidents happened. Second report came that he is refusing to cooperate. He insisted to go back to the public administration department. Safety options were given but he put pressure on the chief medical officer to declare him fit.”
Senators remained divided over the decision to remove the assistant professor from service, though most were in its favour.
Former dean, students’ welfare, Prof Navdeep Goyal said the case has been discussed twice in the syndicate.
“Two years have passed... Employer has to take action within 60 days. We have already violated the act by delaying the punishment. Removal from service should be accepted,” he said.
However, senator DP Randhawa stated the professor had even cleared the civil services examination, though couldn’t clear the interview. “Removal from service is no solution. Major penalty should be debated,” he said.
Meanwhile, Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) president Prof Rajesh Gill said Komal Singh is an alcoholic and the report needs to be examined pertinently.
Former PUTA president Rajat Sandhir said in 2015, there was a complaint that Komal Singh dragged a girl into a car. “Multiple incidents happened after that. Girls are looking at us to take a (firm) decision,” he said.
On former V-C RP Bambha’s suggestion, it was decided to serve him a show-cause notice before announcing a major penalty, and allowing him to plead as to why he should not be dismissed. The assistant professor will remain suspended till then.
Slug: Sexual harassment
Blurb: Komal Singh, former public admn dept head, had ‘verbally misbehaved’ with student; to be served show-cause notice