This case pertains to the woman professor who had made allegations of sexual harassment against former Panjab University vice- chancellor Arun Kumar Grover. The alleged victim failed to appear before the independent internal committee (IIC) constituted to probe the case for the second time on Wednesday. She had earlier skipped appearing before the committee on March 3 as well.
Grover was appointed the V-C in July 2012 and retired in July 2018. A woman professor levelled allegations of sexual harassment against him in 2015, following which the PU committee against sexual harassment (PUCASH) started probe on the matter.
In October last year, the Punjab and Haryana high court (HC) had upheld PU’s decision to constitute an IIC to look into the allegations, after the woman professor raised objections against some names in the panel that were approved by the chancellor and approached court in September 2018.
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This week was the third meeting of the panel after Dheera Khandelwal, additional chief secretary, environment department of Haryana government, was appointed as the new chairperson of the IIC by the PU chancellor in January. The appointment came after the Navraj Sandhu retired in November 2019.
The PU faculty member who had levelled the harassment charges against Grover had quoted in February 2018,
It was in December that senate meeting held in 2015 when it was decided that the Chancellor will constitute a committee comprising members who would have no connection with Chandigarh or Panjab University but this decision has never been conveyed to the Chancellor, till date.
This is the height of injustice and the society is witnessing it. It doesn’t matter if the V-C does not sit through the meeting because there are people who work for him.
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The IIC was constituted by the PU senate and approved by the vice-president of India, who is also the chancellor of the university. Members of the committee held a discussion on when to give the woman professor a third chance to appear before the committee. As per sources, an expert view will be taken on the matter.
The PU faculty member had first complained to the then Chancellor, Hamid Ansari, alleging that the V-C had misbehaved with her when she had gone to his office to congratulate him on the extension of his tenure on April 15, 2015.
The complaint, taken up then by a committee headed by Professor Ronki Ram, had given a clean chit to the V-C on April 17, 2015. Later, when the complaint had reached the NCW, a fact-finding committee had been formed by the HRD ministry (MHRD).
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The complainant, a senior professor at PU, had approached the High Court for directions to the PU Chancellor to independently constitute a committee to inquire into her complaint. She alleged the existing committee was constituted by the Syndicate and Senate with no independent application of mind by the Chancellor.
While upholding the constitution of an internal complaint committee (ICC) of Panjab University set up to probe the allegations of sexual harassment, Justice Arun Monga of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in October 2019, said,
No reasonable or valid grounds of bias or malice has been made out by the complainant against the constitution of the committee.
The present petition is disposed of with liberty to the petitioner to raise all her contentions and objections for mitigation of her grievance before the ICC which shall look into the same before submitting its final report.
About Arun Kumar Grover
An alumnus of Panjab University, he did his MSc (honours) from the Physics department in 1973 and went on to attain a doctorate from Tata Institute of fundamental Research (TIFR) in 1979.
Having published about 200 research papers and with a patent to his credit, it was during Prof Grover’s tenure that the Chandigarh Region Innovation and Knowledge Cluster (CRIKC) was set up to identify and carry out collaborative research projects.
The vice-chancellor is particularly praised for appointing more than a 100 teachers in the varsity to meet the dearth of faculty members.
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