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'Ragging Is Antithetical To Equality': Calcutta HC Orders University Students To Pay Medical Expenses Of Injured Students, Engage In Community Service

Aaratrika Bhaumik
22 May 2022 6:56 AM GMT
Ragging Is Antithetical To Equality: Calcutta HC Orders University Students To Pay Medical Expenses Of Injured Students, Engage In Community Service

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed students of a university who had been found to have engaged in ragging to pay for the medical treatment of the injured students and also participate in community service by teaching school students in a bid to deter the repetition of such acts.

Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya came down heavily on the errant students by observing,

"The petitioners have admittedly disturbed and disrupted the peaceful environment of the University. The petitioners and some others have acted like a bunch of philistines and conducted themselves in a manner which is directly contrary to what should be expected from a student. Ragging, in all its forms, is antithetical to equality and the dignity and self-respect of students, particularly when it takes on a physical and abusive form. It epitomises regressive behaviour with a perceived right to violate the bodily integrity of a fellow-student. There can be no possible excuse for acts of violence and vandalism in an academic institution."

The instant petition had been filed seeking a stay on the Notice of Expulsion dated February 22, 2022, issued by the University and also for permission to take the 8th semester examination in the B. Tech. Course. The Notice of Expulsion had been issued on the strength of accounts of eye witnesses, CCTV footage and investigation of the Anti-Ragging Committee of the university.

Pursuant to the perusal of the record, the Court noted that it is neither in dispute that that the petitioners were a party to the acts nor that the petitioners were given a hearing before the impugned notice was issued to guardians of the petitioners.

The Court further opined that there should be some measures in the form of deterrence so that acts of this nature are not repeated in future by any student of the University. It was further observed that the petitioners must be asked to make good the wrong done including damage caused to the property of the University and other expenses borne by the University.

Accordingly, the Court directed the petitioners to pay the hospitalization charges incurred by the University for the treatment of some of the injured students. Directing the petitioners to engage in community service, the Court observed further,

"The petitioners shall also do community service by teaching students in Sadaipur Prathamik Vidyalay and Subhasnagar FP School, Kokapur schools in Barasat, two days in a week for four hours each day for 12 weeks. The community service shall start from the 1st day of the last paper of 8th semester examination and continue for 12 weeks thereafter without interruption."

The Court further ordered the petitioners to submit a report of the classes taken and the quality of teaching imparted to the school students during the period of 12 weeks of the community service to the University. The Headmasters of the concerned schools were also instructed to certify as to whether the petitioners rendered the service as directed.

It was further instructed that the quantum for reimbursement of the hospitalization charges and other expenses shall be informed by the University to the petitioners within 48 hours from the date of the order and that such payment should be made within 72 hours from the date on which the charges are informed to the petitioners.

However, the Court allowed the petitioners to take their semester examinations by directing,

"The petitioners shall not be permitted to enter the University except for the purpose of taking the examination, as directed above. The study material and all other examination aids shall be provided to the petitioners so that the petitioners are not inconvenienced in any manner before the examination. The parents/family members of the petitioners shall collect the study material from the University."

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the petition by ordering the petitioners to ensure that there is no disruption in the peaceful academic atmosphere of the University at the time of taking the examination. The University shall be at liberty of informing this Court in case the petitioners cause any violation of the directions given above, it was underscored further.

Case Title: Kaniska Roy & Anr v. The State of West Bengal & Ors

Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Cal) 199

Click Here To Read/Download Order

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