Panjab University expels PhD scholar who accused DSW’s son of sexual harassment
Panjab University (PU) has expelled a PhD woman student who has accused the son of Dean Students Welfare (Women) Neena Caplash of sexual harassment.
Panjab University Committee Against Sexual Harassment (PUCASH) termed her complaint false, following which the syndicate took the action on Thursday.
According to the complaint, on January 7 this year, when she and her friend’s relative were coming from the market, the DSW’s son verbally harassed them.
When she returned after dropping her friend’s relative at Faculty Guest House, she claimed to have been harassed again. When she tried to accelerate her scooty to escape, the DSW’s son deliberately hit her.
She was on scooty and he was in a Ford Endeavour. She alleged he said, “Nikaal Di Teri Hekadi (Killed your ego).”
The girl complained to the vice-chancellor (VC) prof Arun Kumar Grover who forwarded it to the PUCASH in February. On March 26, the issue was raised in the senate. Here, the V-C made a statement that the complaint was false.
Following this, the woman sent an email to the PUCASH on March 29 and April 17, saying that she wouldn’t appear before the panel as the vice-chancellor had already termed her complaint false.
There was another witness to the incident, who is related to friend of girl, but she also did not appear before the panel. She also alleged that the DSW obtained a reconciliation statement from her by fraud.
Finally, on April 25, PUCASH said that complaint was false and malicious. It said that the girl did not ‘appear to make’ any statement despite repeated reminders.
It also pointed out that she did not allege sexual harassment in her complaint with the police on January 7.
The panel also added that an FIR lodged on February 15 did not mention sexual harassment.
Senator Jagdish Chander Mehta of DAV College, Sector 10, Chandigarh, was her guide.
On the cancellation of her PhD enrolment, Mehta said, “The complaint was wrongly sent to the PUCASH as the DSW’s son is not a part of the university. Her expulsion is an attempt to save the person against whom allegations have been made; his parents are teachers on campus and he is related to a senior senator.”
He added, “The vice-chancellor had even asked me to disown the student. I will raise the issue before the next senate meeting.”
The woman said she stood by her allegations and will move the high court against the cancellation of PhD enrolment. She alleged that there were discrepancies in the record of guest house.
She has also approached the National Commission for Women. “Both the police and PUCASH have acted in a biased manner,” she said.
The first information report (FIR) against the son is for causing accident and mentioned that accused did not have licence.
PUCASH takes exception to V-C’s statement
“…the PUCASH took serious note of the statements made by the V-C in the senate meeting, labelling the complaint as false and also referring to the consequences of making false statements before any recommendations could be given by the PUCASH. The committee has acted in an unbiased manner and it is not influenced by the statement made by the vice chancellor. The committee has not violated the principles of natural justice, so it is not barred from deciding the case...it is decided that the recommendations of PUCASH will be communicated to syndicate instead of the V-C,” its report said.