Sexual harassment case: HC stays Panjab University decision to cancel scholar’s enrolment
PhD scholar had accused DSW (women)’s son of harassment, varsity panel found it false.punjab Updated: Nov 05, 2017 14:58 IST
The Punjab and Haryana high court has stayed Panjab University’s decision to cancel the enrolment of a woman scholar in a PhD course over alleged false sexual harassment complaint against the son of dean, students’ welfare (DSW, women).
The court, while staying the PU decision, observed that it would examine whether such a complaint should have been referred to an internal committee or to police by the vice-chancellor (V-C), whether a committee could have investigated the complaint and further whether the woman’s enrolment could have been cancelled by the varsity.
PUCASH found the complaint “false” and later on May 28, the PU syndicate took the decision to cancel the enrolment of the woman scholar and expelled her in June 2017.
The woman scholar in her complaint stated that on January 7 this year, when she and her friend’s relative were coming from the Sector-15 market, Dr Neena Kaplesh, who is the DSW (women) and her son Sahir Sharma verbally harassed them. She also alleged that the DSW obtained reconciliation statement from her by fraud.
She filed a complaint against Kaplesh to the V-C Arun Kumar Grover, who forwarded it to the PU Committee Against Sexual Harassment (PUCASH). The PUCASH found it “false” and later on May 28, the PU syndicate took the decision to cancel the enrolment of the woman scholar and expelled her in June 2017.
The high court (HC) while seeking response by February 23, 2018, has put on notice Panjab University, its V-C, syndicate, PUCASH chairman, DSW (women) Dr Neena Kaplesh, her son Sahir Sharma and syndicate member Pam Rajput.
The petitioner’s counsel, Sunil Nehra, had submitted that Grover did not act against Kaplesh, who ‘fraudulently’ obtained the signatures of the petitioner. In spite of having no jurisdiction to act against the accused boy (as he was neither a student or employee), the V-C forwarded the complaint to the PUCASH, which probed the matter, even though it also did not have the jurisdiction, the court was told.
The woman has further alleged that the committee passed the order ex parte and even before the committee was to take a decision, the V-C had termed the complaint “false” in a senate meeting in March 2017.
Rajput, who is paternal aunt of Kaplesh, was present at the syndicate meeting besides the V-C, where the decision was taken, Nehra told court.