Record 39 sexual harassment complaints in JNU in 2015-16
Jawaharlal Nehru University, which has been at the centre of a controversy in recent months, recorded 39 complaints of sexual harassment in 2015-16 financial year, the highest in the varsity’s records.
The university had received 26 complaints of sexual harassment in 2014-15, while the number stood at 25 in 2013-14.
In December, the then HRD Minister Smriti Irani had informed Parliament that the number of complaints received by the JNU authorities during the two years were the highest among educational institutions.
According to the 2015-16 annual report of Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH), a central body which deals with complaints of this nature from all university departments, 42 complaints were received between January, 2015 and March, 2016.
“Out of the total cases, three inquiries were completed and cases were closed. Three complaints were withdrawn, 29 complaints are such where the inquiry is underway.
“In one case where the defendant was unknown, GSCASH advised the complainant to get in touch with police. Six cases could not be proceeded due to non-availability of either of the parties after several efforts,” the report said.
The varsity was under criticism last year for reporting maximum cases of sexual harassment even as JNU officials maintained that the high figures were due to the fact that the university had an active platform for reporting such complaints unlike many other educational institutions.
Earlier, a few professors of the varsity had come out questioning the working of GSCASH, alleging its “processes are perverted”.GSCASH was instituted by the university in 1999 under the Vishakha guidelines of the Supreme Court.
The panel has representatives from JNU Students Union (JNUSU), JNU Officers’ Association (JNUOA), hostel wardens, faculty and administrative staff.
JNU had recently notified a new sexual harassment policy which also included a penalty provision for false complaints filed before the probe panel.