DU professor’s past raked up over V-C appointment

Prof Bidyut Chakrabarty was accused of sexual harassment in the past

December 29, 2015 12:00 am | Updated March 24, 2016 12:37 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Amid speculations that Professor Bidyut Chakrabarty of Delhi University’s Political Science Department was among the frontrunners for the post of Vice-Chancellor, teachers in the varsity have raked up the issue of his alleged involvement in a sexual harassment case in the past.

A number of women’s organisations have also written to President Pranab Mukherjee stating that allegations of sexual harassment were made by an employee of Gandhi Bhawan in 2007 against Prof. Chakrabarty and that he must not be considered for the V-C’s post. They have urged the President to appoint a person with impeccable integrity and whose commitment to gender justice was unquestionable.

The DU Gandhi Bhawan employee had accused Prof. Chakrabarty of sexual harassment when the latter was posted as Director there. The case was however quashed by the High Court in 2010 when Prof. Chakrabarty approached the Court for relief.

He now feels raking up the matter is unfair to both his family and him after the High Court quashed the case. Talking to The Hindu , Prof. Chakrabarty said: “First of all, I do not know if my name is there among the V-C candidates or not. And if at all it is, there is no point in raking up an old issue at this time. This is a very painful situation for my family, my wife, my two daughters and me.”

Women’s groups, including the All India Democratic Women’s Association, Saheli, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan, Jagori and Joint Women’s Programme (JWP) among others, have noted that any V-C or Executive Council member must possess a sterling record on gender equality.

“These positions demand gender-just governance of universities, which include making policies, judging cases of sexual harassment and an active implementation of the law against sexual harassment at the workplace,” the organisations noted in the letter.

The letter referred to a report of DU’s Apex Committee on Sexual Harassment that was tabled and accepted by the Executive Council in 2007, which resolved that a letter of warning be issued to Prof. Chakrabarty and he should be asked to step down from the directorship of Gandhi Bhawan. It had also ordered that he be barred from holding any administrative post in the University for a period of three years.

Many women’s organisations have written to the President against his appointment

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