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It?S Zero Tolerance

Freshers dread the monster of ragging that lurks ominously in the corridors of educational campuses and students’ hostels every time a new academic year starts.

But this year, the Supreme Court’s landmark directions and the University Grants Commission’s stringent guidelines promise to prevent, if not eliminate, the scourge of ragging, bullying and various forms of student abuse that has become the bane of higher education institutions.

Close on the heels of the Supreme Court’s direction to all State Governments earlier this year to look into the menace of ragging seriously and initiate preventive measures, the UGC too came up with a set of regulations in June 2009 to curb ragging in all higher education institutions.

While the Supreme Court has termed ragging as “human rights abuse in essence” and directed educational institutions to file criminal cases against erring students, the UGC has made it mandatory for the colleges to secure an affidavit from the students at the time of their enrolment that they are aware of the prohibition on ragging and the punishment prescribed.

Affidavit

 

Students seeking admission into a hostel forming part of the institution should submit an additional affidavit countersigned by their parents or guardians. The regulations also provide for round-the-clock vigil against ragging on hostel premises. The UGC has directed all educational institutions to constitute anti-ragging committees comprising representatives from the civil and police administration, media, NGOs, faculty, parents as well as senior students.

These committees will ensure compliance with the UGC regulations and implementing of penal provisions against the perpetrators of the crime.

Also, the institutions should constitute anti-ragging squads to patrol the educational campus, hostel or any other place likely to be chosen for ragging.

The UGC has stipulated that the head of the institution shall proceed to file a First Information Report (FIR) within 24 hours of receipt of information of an incident of ragging on the campus.

The punishment stipulated by the UGC for students found guilty of ragging include cancellation of admission and expulsion from the institution and consequent debarring from admission to any other institution for a specified period.

Endorsement

 

Meanwhile, a senior official in the Department of Higher Education, Government of Karnataka, told The Hindu that the State Government had not only filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court pledging to initiate action against the menace of ragging, but also endorsed the UGC regulations in the regard.

A circular has also been issued to the universities to review the affiliation of colleges which fail to comply with the provisions.

Senior Government officials point out that Karnataka, fortunately, has not seen many instances of ragging on its educational campuses. Nevertheless, necessary measures will be in place to prevent the menace from raising its ugly head.

The Supreme Court directions as well as the UGC regulations draw heavily from the recommendations made by the apex court-appointed Committee headed by former CBI Director R.K. Raghavan to suggest remedial measures to tackle the problem of ragging in educational institutions.

Alcoholism

 

The Committee had also identified rampant alcoholism as one of the main reasons for the spurt in instances of ragging.

Hence, the Supreme Court had favoured setting up of de-addiction facilities in educational institutions.

It had also emphasised the need to provide psychological counselling to “raggers” as well as the “ragged.”

Psychology

 

The Raghavan panel had stressed the need for probing the psychological aspects of ragging. It had also called for appointment of a committee of psychologists and mental health experts for the purpose.

“There is a dire need to examine the psychological aspects of ragging, including its impact on young students and the rationale behind the seniors’ urge to rag and torment their juniors,” the panel had said in its report to the Supreme Court.

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