Tamil Nadu was the first State in the country to bring in a legislation against ragging, Sub-Judge and secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Tiruchi, M. Gomathinayagam said on Tuesday.

He was speaking at an Anti- Ragging awareness programme organised jointly by the District Legal Services Authority and the Government Law College, Tiruchi at the college here.

The Supreme Court banned ragging throughout the country in 2001 and had issued stricter guidelines in 2009 to prevent ragging in colleges and educational institutions, Mr. Gomathinayagam said.

Though instances of ragging had come down, it persisted in some places and more so in hostels, he observed calling for the need to eliminate the problem.

Tracing the history of ragging, Mr. Gomathinayagam said it started from the 8th century AD in Greece and gradually spread to other countries in Europe, the United States and later to India. Ragging became more rampant and severe in the country during the 1990s owing to mushrooming of engineering and medical colleges.

Though instances of ragging had been reported there was no data pertaining to incidents of ragging and action taken in those cases, he said. Tamil Nadu was the first state in the country to come out with a concrete action to check ragging by bringing in legislation against ragging in 1997, Mr. Gomathinayagam said.

Acting on the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court several higher educational institutions today had constituted anti-ragging committees in their respective institutions. It was the foremost duty of the head of the educational institution to take action against those found indulging in ragging, he said.

Advocate S.B.A. Rajeswari said students too had a duty to prevent ragging in their respective institutions. Senior students should be a model for the juniors to emulate, she added. Advocates M. Sivaraju, K. Manoharan, S.K. Razvi and S. Vijayan took part in the programme.