A standing committee of Panjab University (PU) has dismissed a woman professor’s allegations against registrar Col GS Chadha (retd). She had accused Chadha of making public her sexual harassment complaint, filed in 2015, against vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover. Her complaints have been on the agenda items of the Syndicate and the Senate since then.
In the first week of May, the standing committee comprising professor SK Mehta, professor Upinder Sawhney, professor Rajat Sandhir and assistant registrar (establishment) said in a report that it was of the ‘considered opinion that there is no substance in the complaint’ filed by her. The panel added they had gone through the woman professor’s complaint and also recorded the statements of Chadha and V-C Grover.
The committee’s report also noted, “...After several reminders, she neither sent any representative before the committee nor she personally appeared on May 4, 2016.”
Chadha told the committee that it was his duty to present the agenda to the members of syndicate and senate. “Her complaint came to the university from the office of chancellor, PU, the ministry of human resources and development, the UT Police and other authorities. There was a directive to examine the complaint against the V-C alleging sexual harassment. In compliance with PU policy, the complaint was referred to the Panjab University Committee Against Sexual Harassment (PUCASH) for examination. Then, whatever decision had to be taken, it would have to be taken ultimately by the syndicate and senate, the governing bodies of the university,” he said.
He added that the documents were published in the media but he was not responsible as he had just sent them to members of governing bodies in sealed cover.
Prof Grover told the committee that he got the transcription done of the hand-written complaint of woman prof to UGC against him. He made it available to the warden of the Girls Hostel no 2 and Dean Students Welfare. They prepared a report related to happenings of March 31, 2013, to which sexual harassment charges pertained and handed it over to Chandigarh Police through the varsity security chief.
“The PU registrar received a copy of these which had to be made available thereafter to the governing bodies of the university and MHRD, New Delhi. The registrar send these papers in sealed cover to the members of the syndicate and the senate,” he said.
PUCASH says complaint not within its ambit
PUCASH chairperson prof Nishtha Jaswal wrote to varsity chancellor and the vice-president of India on June 9 saying that the woman’s complaint was not within the committee’s ambit. “The woman professor’s complaint pertained to violation of Section 16 of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013, which did not come under PUCASH,” the letter said. The letter adds that the registrar may be advised not to correspond with the committee, regarding the woman prof’s plaint.