'Scary': Gujarat High Court On Committee's Findings Of Ordeal Faced By GNLU Students

'Scary': Gujarat High Court On Committee's Findings Of Ordeal Faced By GNLU Students

"This report is really scary," said the Gujarat court, hearing a suo motu PIL based on a newspaper dated September 22, 2023.

PTIUpdated: Thursday, February 29, 2024, 12:50 PM IST
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Gujarat: The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday described the findings of a committee which looked into the allegations of harassment of a queer student and rape of a female student at Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) as "scary".

After going through parts of the report, submitted in a sealed cover, a division bench of Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Aniruddha P Mayee expressed shock at "incidents of molestation, rape, discrimination, homophobia, favouritism, suppression of voices" going on at the Gandhinagar-based institute.

"This report is really scary," said the court, hearing a suo motu Public Interest Litigation based on a newspaper report dated September 22, 2023.

Court Orders Reconstitution Of Fact-Finding Committee

As per the newspaper, a male student of GNLU suffered mental trauma due to the harassment meted out to him only for the reason of being a queer, while a female student had accused a batchmate of raping her.

The court had earlier directed the institute to reconstitute its fact-finding committee, set up to inquire into the alleged incidents. The new committee was headed by Justice (retired) Harsha Devani of the high court.

One of the victims categorically stated that "a politically influential person" was trying to see to it that no police complaint was made, and an Instagram post about the alleged atrocities was forcibly removed through the intervention of GNLU and faculty warden of the girls' college, the court noted.

GNLU's Rejects to Instagram Posts Highlighting Institutional Failures

GNLU objected to the Instagram posts which brought to light the ordeal faced by the two students, and adopted adversarial approach towards them, the court observed.

"That is the scariest part of the report. After parents, teachers and faculty in a residential college play the role of parents ... they have taken the post as something meant to tarnish the image of the university," it said.

"It was so difficult for them (the students) to speak (to the committee members). They are students of law, they are supposed to help others to hear their voices," the court added.

"All these lectures, talks, seminars...everything goes to rubbish, it has no meaning at all," it said.

High Court Calls for Action on Fact-Finding Report

A competent authority should consider the fact-finding report, the high court said, and posted the matter to March 12 after directing the lawyer assisting the court as well as the lawyers representing the GNLU to determine the appropriate authority.

The fact-finding report also mentions allegations against certain faculty members, the registrar and the director of the institute which needs a high-level inquiry, the judges said. 

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