The Delhi High Court on Friday upheld Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) decision awarding penalty of compulsory retirement against an employee on a woman professor's complaint of sexual harassment against him five years ago.
Dismissing the plea of S Raju Aiyer, who worked as a Personal Assistant in JNU, a bench of acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed and Vibhu Bakhru concurred with the single judge's findings against Aiyer. "We are in agreement with the view of the single judge that there is no perversity in the findings arrived at by the Enquiry Committee (of JNU) and the Appeals Committee and, thus, we find no ground to interfere with the penalty imposed on the appellant," the bench said.
The court rejected Aiyer's argument that the Registrar was not authorised to impose the penalty on him and said "this contention is also without merit. Rule VII (i) of the Gender Sensitisation Committee against Sexual Harassment(GSCASH) provides for the report of the inquiry committee to be forwarded to the Vice Chancellor (VC) for consideration of the appropriate university authorities.".....The Registrar of the university is a "university functionary" as per Rule III(ix) of the GSCASH Rules and there is no infirmity in his acting on behalf of the university for the purposes of the disciplinary proceedings.
In any view of the matter, the grievance that the penalty has been imposed by the Registrar and not the VC does not survive as the decision to impose the major penalty has been affirmed by the appeals committee which has the approval of not only the VC but also of the Executive Council," the court also said.
A woman Associate Professor at the Centre for South, Central, Southeast Asian and Southwest Pacific Studies had lodged a sexual harassment complaint against him in 2008. According to the complaint, Aiyer had made frequent calls at her residence on April 10, 12 and 14, 2008. It was also alleged that he had sent two obscene emails to her and further he had allegedly stalked her during her evening walks thereby creating an overbearing and intimidating situation for her.
Based on the inquiry committee report suggesting the penalty of compulsory retirement on Aiyer, the University Registrar had issued a memorandum against Aiyer on June 25,2010 and the same was subsequently approved by the VC in July 2010. Being aggrieved by the University's decision, Aiyer had approached the high court and the single judge had dismissed his plea while upholding the University's penalty against him.