Acting on the recommendations of R.K.Raghavan Committee, the Supreme Court (SC) today (11th Feb’09) empowered professional bodies and colleges to suspend students involved in ragging- without immediate probe in appropriate (serious) cases pending final decision and give opportunity to the student concerned (later) to have his say- while observing that, “Ragging in essence is human rights abuse.”
Expressing anguish the court observed that seniors under the garb of ‘introduction’ ragged freshers forcing some to leave the institution and torturing them to such an extent that some of the freshers even commited suicide and some others attempt to do so. Ragging has become synonymous with teasing, terror, harassment, cruelty, fear and physical and mental torture.
The court also said that if it comes to the notice of the university or controlling body of an institution that an institution was ‘trying to shield’ the errant students they (controlling body) were ‘free to reduce grant or even deny it’ in ‘serious cases.
In a sort of warning to the institutional heads, the SC Bench consisting of Justice Arijit Pasayat & Justice Mukundakam Sharma said that the law has to be set in motion (when complain of ragging is recorded) ‘immediately’ by informing police, as delay in many cases would frustrate the need for urgent action.
The court also directed professional bodies like the Bar and the Medical councils as well as University Grant Commission to frame regulations making the norms binding on all. Meanwhile the court also directed that all the state and union territories including educational institutions to act on the recommendations of Raghavan Committee, which observed that regulatory bodies are not doing enough to check ragging.
As per the recommendations of the committee, the Bench directed that the prospectus must mention that an incident of ragging resorted by student would attract punishment and the student concerned may even be expelled.
The committee has also proposed anti-ragging cells at state, district and college levels and has said that text books must contain anti-ragging chapters. The court accepted all the recommendations and posted the matter for further hearing in March’09.