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THE Supreme Court has directed the educational institutes to expel the students indulging in ragging and inform the police to initiate criminal proceedings against them.

“If the authorities are prima facie satisfied about the errant act of any student, they can in appropriate cases pending final decision, suspend the student from the institution, and the hostel if any, and give opportunity to him to have his say. Immediately, the police shall be informed and criminal law set into motion,” said a bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice M K Sharma.

The court said that delay in taking action against the errant students would frustrate the need for taking urgent action. A plea was raised before the bench that an opportunity should be given to the alleged offender before taking actions like expulsion from the institutes.

The court also directed for stringent actions against those institutes sheilding the guilty.

“If it comes to the notice of the university or controlling body that any educational institution is trying to shield the errant students, they shall be free to reduce the grants in aid and in serious cases deny grants in aids,” said Justice Pasayat writing the verdict for the bench.

The bench, considering the reports of the committee headed by ex-CBI chief RK Raghavan, said, “We direct that the government in the states and the Union Territories and the university shall act in terms of the guidelines formulated by the constituted committee. The MCI, BCI in consultation with UGC shall frame the requisite regulations which shall be binding on the institutions. They shall be indicated to the students at the time of admission by appropriate provision in the prospectus issued for admission. The consequences, which flow from not observing the guidelines, shall also be indicated. Inquiries, which are pending, shall be completed and report shall be submitted before this court”. It posted the matter for further hearing in March.

The court-appointed committee had said that more was needed to be done by regulatory bodies to prevent ragging and the response of educational institutions lacked promptness. They should formulate regulations and give directions to check it, the committee had said.

The bench said, “Ragging in essence is a human rights’ abuse. Ragging can be in various forms. It can be physical abuse or mental harassment. In present times shocking incidents of ragging have come to the notice. Sometimes violence is used. The student is physically tortured or psychologically terrorised. All human being should be free to claim, as a matter of right in the society in which they live, for life of dignity but when it is intentionally or recklessly damaged or departed then the person’s human right is abused; in that sense ragging is the best example of human rights’ abuse.”

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