PU panel finds assistant prof guilty of sexual harassmentUpdated: Apr 30, 2017 12:07 IST
The complainant told PUCASH that he always made sexually-coloured remarks and threatened to spoil her career in case she complained.(HT Representative Image)
Panjab University Committee Against Sexual Harassment (PUCASH) has held an assistant professor in the department, Komal Singh, guilty of sexually harassing his student. Now, the Syndicate is set to consider action to be taken against him on Sunday.
It was the second such complaint against Singh. After the first complaint, he had to resign as the chairperson of the department.
A post-graduate student had alleged on September 10, 2015, that Singh had indulged in ‘sexual talks’ with her. On September 15, she appeared before PUCASH and narrated the incident. Before that she had also complained to the chairperson on September 8. Singh had then tendered an apology before the chairperson.
The complainant told PUCASH that he always made sexually-coloured remarks and threatened to spoil her career in case she complained. Singh was the evaluator for her internal assessment of 40 marks.
During PUCASH proceedings, the complainant produced three witnesses to back her claim that Singh used to make sexually-coloured remarks towards the victim. It was also alleged that the accused was in the habit of calling almost all girl students in his office room. They also expressed concerns about their safety. However, on November 6, 2015, the witnesses decided to express their desire to withdraw from proceedings due to pressure from different quarters, as per PUCASH findings.
The girl told PUCASH that on September 4, 2015, late evening Singh rang her up and said, “Teri ankhen badi sundar hai, meri wife se milti hai (Your eyes are very beautiful and are similar to my wife). Teri ankhon mein bada dard hai (there is pain in your eyes) and I love you, I love you.”
At the PUCASH proceedings, Singh denied this and said he always addressed the victim as daughter.
When he said that he was a liberal teacher and was of helping nature, then PUCASH confronted him with a previous complaint of sexual harassment against him; this plaint has been withdrawn. The committee also informed him that it was on record that he misbehaved with her and also helped her get a hotel room.
PUCASH held him guilty and asked PU authorities to take action against him and added that his previous conduct and his resignation from chairpersonship did not prove deterrent enough for not repeating the same kind of action.
A show-cause notice was issued on May 23, 2016, to Komal Singh. In his reply, he questioned that why did the girl remain silent for three days after the phone call. He called for an inquiry by a retired judicial officer or some higher official so that truth could come out.
Another complaint before Syndicate
Meanwhile, another complaint of an assistant professor, who heads a department, against a teacher is also coming up for discussion before syndicate. The woman professor had complained that an assistant professor barged into her room and threatened her that she had to face dire consequences if she stopped him from “exporting things” from the department. She had alleged it was a case of ‘outrage of modesty of woman’ and mental harassment. However, PUCASH has concluded that it was mental harassment and not in their purview.
What is the case?
During PUCASH proceedings, the complainant produced three witnesses to back her claim that Singh used to make sexually-coloured remarks towards the victim. It was also alleged that the accused was in the habit of calling almost all girl students in his office room.
First Published: Apr 30, 2017 12:04 IST