JNU panel to complete probe into misconduct allegations against professor in 2 weeks

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New Delhi | Published: July 9, 2018 7:31:11 PM

The Delhi High Court today gave Jawaharlal Nehru University's Internal Complaints Committee two more weeks to complete its investigation into the alleged misconduct of one of its professors, accused of sexually harassing women students.

JNU panel to complete probe into misconduct allegations against professor in 2 weeks ( IE)

The Delhi High Court today gave Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Internal Complaints Committee two more weeks to complete its investigation into the alleged misconduct of one of its professors, accused of sexually harassing women students. The varsity had sought three weeks to complete the probe, saying it received the high court’s May 29 order – directing the committee to take a decision within three weeks – on June 19 and, hence, it needed more time to complete the investigation.
The request was opposed by the lawyer of the women students seeking suspension of professor Atul Johri, against whom eight FIRs have been filed alleging sexual harassment.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru then granted two weeks’ time to complete the ICC proceedings after both the sides agreed. Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the women students, told the high court that the May 29 order was made available on the court’s website that same evening and there was no need for the university to wait until June 19 to receive it.

She argued there was an urgency and sensitivity attached to the case but it was missing in JNU’s approach in the matter. On May 29, the court directed Johri not to take charge as warden of any hostel on the JNU campus, which houses women, and not to contact the women students and potential witnesses.

It had said Johri should not visit laboratory no. 409 of the Department of Life Sciences, where the students work, and the keys be given to them. In case Johri has work, he may be given a separate laboratory, the court had said. The court had rebuked JNU for not taking steps to provide a safe environment for the women who have levelled sexual harassment charges against Johri.

The observations had come after the court perused a report of the fact-finding committee, set up by the JNU to probe the professor’s alleged misconduct, which contained no findings. Johri has claimed some of the students were asked to work harder and, in retaliation, they have levelled the allegations. On April 25, the court directed JNU to treat the representations of women students as complaints and initiate a probe against Johri on charges of sexual harassment, and questioned the varsity for not taking steps in the matter.

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