Campus Buzz

Panjab University Chandigarh hold its first Syndicate meeting for 2018

January 11, 2018 10:12 AM

Punjab News Express
CHANDIGARH: The probe into the sexual harassment complaint against the Panjab University (PU) vice-chancellor (VC) has still not been completed and awaits a decision. The PU syndicate has called a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss the matter.

According to the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, the case should have been resolved in 90 days. The university also has its internal committee, Panjab University Committee Against Sexual Harassment (PUCASH), which is governed by the Act. However, none has been able to resolve the matter till date.
The committee formed by the senate was to hold its first meeting on January 9, 2018, however, after the chairperson of the committee Meenakshi Anand Choudhary refused to head the committee, the meeting was cancelled. This issue will be discussed in syndicate meeting on Wednesday.

Former chief secretary of Haryana Meenakshi Anand Chaudhary wrote to the university registrar stating that committee's constitution does not entirely comply with the provisions of the Act. She has stated that after her retirement as chief secretary of Haryana in 2006 and later as chief information commissioner, Haryana in 2011, she had not been employed in any workplace and as per the Section 4 (2) (a) of the Act, a presiding officer shall be a woman employed at a senior level at workplace from amongst the employees for the committee.
The case goes back to April 2015 when a faculty member had alleged sexual harassment and later had also complained about the same to the ministry of human resource and development (MHRD). The university governing bodies took considerable amount of time to find an agreement on the basis of which the committee should probe the case. It was in the senate meeting on January 29, 2017 that the House had formed this committee to probe the complaint . However, there was disagreement and five senators, including the complainant, had recorded their dissent on the decision since they wanted the chancellor should recommend the names of the committee members and should not be forwarded the names suggested by the syndicate and senate.
"It is a mockery of the Act. The probe of this case should have been completed in three months and it has taken three years and the probe is yet to be completed. Now it will be clear in tomorrow's meeting as to who will probe the matter," said a senior senate member seeking anonymity.
Earlier, in response to the names of the committee members sent to the chancellor's office for approval, the chancellor's office had written that PU already had a committee capable of looking into the matter. So the chancellor won't form any new panel over this body formed under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act, 2013.

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