Tuesday, May 27, 2008

[MSN] Involve parents in punishing ragging rogues, says UGC

New Delhi: Hit by the the spurt in ragging incidents in 2007 despite the Supreme Court ban, the University Grants Commission has asked all educational institutions in the country to spell out punishment for ragging in their prospectus and brochures.

The commission also wants that the institutions seek an undertaking from parents that they would agree to the punishment for their wards found involved in ragging. The National Institute of Technology, Calicut, is already seeking such an undertaking. However, students involved in ragging would be given a chance to plead their case, a UGC official clarified.

The UGC, in its nation-wide circular last week, had said that punishment for students found guilty of ragging, to be mentioned in the prospectus, would be expulsion from the institution, apart from initiation of criminal proceedings. The circular is a fall-out of the Raghavan Committee meeting on April 4, which found that the number of ragging cases in 2007 had doubled, compared to 2006. It was also felt that many institutions don’t report minor cases of ragging fearing loss of reputation.

The Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURA), a group monitoring ragging cases in India, had reported 52 cases between May and September 2007, which included three suicides and three attempts to suicide cases, suspected to be resulting from harassment faced during ragging.

The UGC has also directed every institution to have an anti-ragging cell comprising teachers as well as students, where students can report ragging cases. The students would have to be briefed about this right at the time of induction, a UGC official said.

The Raghavan committee had also drawn a social profile of the victims and found that most of them were either from rural areas or socially backward communities. The institutions have been asked to provide special protection to these students.

The Supreme Court had directed educational institutions last year to lodge an FIR against the accused in ragging cases. It had also asked lower courts to hear these cases on a fast track basis. But, in many cases it had been found that the institutions had got the ragging case resolved amicably rather than acting against the accused.

The UGC has also asked institutions to conduct special campaigns to stop ragging and identify ragging hot spots such as hostels, for these campaigns.

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