Johri case: HC seeks JNU response on plea

Students want early hearing on contempt petition against university

Published - May 21, 2019 01:14 am IST - New Delhi

Activists protest against JNU Professor Atul Johri, who is accused in a sexual harassment case.

Activists protest against JNU Professor Atul Johri, who is accused in a sexual harassment case.

The Delhi High Court on Monday asked Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to respond to a plea by several women students, who had accused a professor of sexual harassment, seeking early hearing on a contempt petition against the varsity.

Justice J.R. Midha also issued notices to JNU’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Atul Johri and Delhi Police on the plea by the students. It additionally called for records of the main case and posted the matter for hearing on July 2.

In the main case, another Bench of the High Court had in January sought response of JNU on a plea by the women students challenging the clean chit, given by its Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), to Prof. Johri in the sexual harassment cases.

Access to laboratory

The students have filed their contempt petition against JNU, its Vice-Chancellor and the professor for allegedly “wilfully disobeying” the earlier directions of the HC given in its orders of May 2 and May 29, 2018.

Their plea said the HC had directed that Prof. Johri shall have no access to a particular laboratory and the authorities shall give complete access of the laboratory and separate keys to the students. The petition said they have learnt that on the request of Prof. Johri, the executive council (EC) of JNU, in February, has allowed him access to the particular laboratory in the School of Life Sciences and delegated teaching responsibilities back to him.

Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the women students, said the case needed to be heard urgently as the students will not be able to complete their Ph.D. if not given access to the laboratory.

The plea sought contempt proceedings against JNU, V-C and Prof. Johri. It also requested that the resolution passed in the EC’s meeting be stayed.

Earlier this month, the HC had issued notice to the police on the students’ plea seeking direction for filing of chargesheet expeditiously in the sexual harassment case lodged against Prof. Johri.

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