Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ragging in CMCH: ex-warden’s plea to be PIL

The Punjab and Haryana high court has decided to treat as a public interest litigation (PIL) the plea filed by a former assistant professor at Ludhiana's Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), Dr Robert James, highlighting ragging of juniors by students in the CMCH boys' hostel.

 Dr James, who has since resigned from the CMCH, had told the court that in his capacity as warden of the college's Ross Boys' Hostel, he had complained to the administration about the ongoing ragging in July; but rather than taking any action, he had been illegally suspended by the hospital on September 20.

Justice Rajesh Bindal on Friday referred the petition to the chief justice for treating it as a PIL and putting up the case before an appropriate court. The development took place when the petitioner's counsel Hitesh Kaplish informed the court that now the petitioner's prayer regarding revoking his suspension had become infructuous, he had resigned and subsequently joined Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Jalandhar.

However, the main issue regarding ragging still remained. The CMCH, in its reply submitted to the court earlier, has denied the allegations, stating that there were no complaints from students. However, Kaplish informed the court that Dr James had evidence in the form of complaints from students, besides conversations recorded on compact discs (CD) and their transcripts.

 As per a notification by the Medical Council of India on August 3, 2009, once an incident of ragging is reported to the head of institution, he/she has to strictly act considering ragging as a cognizable offence under law. A cognizable offence is one for which the police can arrest the accused without a court-issued warrant.

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