Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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Delhi HC Directs JMIU To Continue Allowance Of Suspended Professor

New Delhi [India]: Delhi High Court has directed Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMIU) to continue the allowance of an assistant professor who was suspended after sexual harassment allegation levelled against him in February this year.

The court listed the matter to be heard again on October 13. The assistant professor, S Veeramani, was suspended immediately by the Internal Complaints Committee, pending inquiry on February 7 this year.

A complaint was filed by a student of the institute under Section 9 of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
A Bench of Justice Pratibha M Singh ordered for the subsistence allowance of the professor on a monthly basis as per the applicable norms by the University.

The complaint of harassment was submitted to the Vice Chancellor on February 6 this year and on the same day in front of a committee constituting of the Dean, Faculty of Management Studies, the HOD (Department of Management Studies) and the father of the complainant, the matter was amicably resolved between the parties, the court order said.
“However, on the very next day i.e., 7th February 2023 he has been suspended vide Office Memorandum issued by the Registrar of the University,” it added.

Sr. counsel Harshvir Pratap Sharma, appearing for the professor, submitted that pursuant to the said OM, the petitioner is not receiving his subsistence allowance.

“He makes a reference to Section 12 of the POSH Act to argue that upon a complaint being received, the ICC can either – transfer the aggrieved woman, or grant relief to the aggrieved woman or grant such other relief to the aggrieved woman. However, the Petitioner could not have been suspended,” the order said.

The Counsel appearing for the University relies upon Statute 37(1) of the Jamia Millia Islamia Act, 1988, being an Act of Parliament, which permits the Vice-Chancellor of the University to suspend any teacher, if any allegations of misconduct are made against the said teacher.

“In the meantime, the subsistence allowance of the Petitioner as per the applicable norms, shall be continued to be paid on a monthly basis by the University,” the order said.
The court further made it clear that the proceedings before the ICC shall continue and the report of the ICC shall be placed on record before the Court at least two weeks before the next date of hearing.

“The Petitioner is free to participate in the inquiry proceedings conducted by the ICC without prejudice to the contentions raised in the present writ petition,” the order said.

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