A 75-year-old former Delhi University professor has been absolved of a sexual harassment charge 16 years after it was filed against him by two researchers.He was suspended by the Delhi University in March 2002, just two years before his retirement was due.
The Delhi High Court,however, set aside the university’s move to suspend the professor and told the authorities to give all arrears and retirement benefits within three months to its former head of the Sanskrit department.
Justice V Kameswar Rao said the professor will not get any arrears for a two-year period which he did not serve, though it will be considered as “time spent on duty”. The court did not allow the university to refer the matter back to its probe panel, as sought by the university.
“This court is of the view that the age of the petitioner, who is said to be of 75 years, and the researchers also have equally aged… fresh enquiry from the stage of framing of charges and allowing cross-examination of the witnesses would be an embarrassment for the parties at this stage of their life,” Justice Rao said.
“It shall be appropriate if the matter is put at rest, but with limited relief to the petitioner,” the court said. “During the time when the enquiry was conducted by the enquiry committee, there were no rules framed by the university for enquiring into allegations of sexual harassment”.
The professor had moved to court against the university’s order and alleged the probe panel formed by the vice chancellor was flawed in its investigation into the matter.
The professor in the past has mentioned the the politics in the university behind the charges framed against him since he was working as the Sanskrit department Head which had a lot of power.The case resulted in a 16 year long legal battle along with loss of respect for the teacher who was well respected in the university during the time of his employment.
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