HC quashes sexual harassment report against Rewari teacher
The court found several violations in constitution of the committee and process adopted for the termination of the teacher, who was sacked in 2019
The Punjab and Haryana high court has quashed a report prepared by a Rewari school holding an economics lecturer guilty of sexual harassment of students.
The court found several violations in constitution of the committee and process adopted for the termination of the teacher, who was sacked in 2019. The court has ordered that the matter be probed afresh and speaking order be passed.
The teacher had approached the high court, challenging the report submitted in March 2019 and his termination order in August 2019. The report had made allegations of misbehaviour and wrongful conduct towards girl students and a staff member.
The court found that the committee members were lady associate professors of the college and no one from the non-teaching staff was in it. It was also not clear as to who headed the committee and whether it was a permanent committee. Although the complaint was from students, none of their representatives was in the committee. Also, nor any independent member from NGOs or any other associations was associated, which is mandatory as per law, the court observed.
“Since very constitution of the committee was in violation of law, it had no competence to hold inquiry into the allegations levelled against the petitioner,” the bench of justice Tribhuvan Dahiya observed, adding that in view of this, the proceedings become vitiated and recommendations cannot be acted upon. The bench also observed that neither committee’s report was not served on the lecturer, nor was he given an opportunity to appeal against it.
According to regulations, a permanent committee, headed by a woman faculty member, to inquire into complaints of sexual harassment has to be constituted. Two faculty members and two non-teaching employees, among others, are to be part of it. If the matter involves students, three students and one NGO member have to be in the committee. The court said that termination order was in violation of the principles of natural justice and no reasoning was given. “To remove an employee from service in this manner is travesty of justice. On this account also, the order becomes unsustainable in law,” the court observed.