Guidelines for Educational Institutes Against Ragging
Ragging is not something new and inspite of the fact that it is a punishable offence, the practice continues to haunt not just students but also their parents, teachers as well as the law-and- order machinery. While we are all aware of the ills of ragging and how it has transformed from being a simple gesture of getting introduced to new students into an act of terrorism, we are still not sure about the role and responsibility of the institute where the act takes place. Ragging in university and other education institutes are now a common affair which needs a strict anti ragging law.
In most cases the culprits of ragging in universities and colleges are primarily students from the older batches of the institute and not the staff. Hence, the institute cannot be held liable or responsible for ragging just because the incident has happened on their campus. At the same time, if it is proved that the institute could have prevented the act (which is its foremost responsibility) but did not do so, then it 'may' be held guilty of deficiency in services.
What is deficiency of services?
Legally, the service provider should provide services for the consideration paid to the consumer and any default in doing so shall amount to deficiency in services. Hence, as a service to its students against the fee it charges, the educational institute is bound to develop a proper infrastructure and system that should be adequate for providing the services. It must also ensure safety of all
students and not allow internal or external elements to perform an act that may harm or bother its students. Under the circumstances, it becomes quite difficult to bring any educational institute under the purview of anti ragging law and hold it guilty of negligence /deficiency in services. But if the institute does not follow the rules, preventive measures, directions and guidelines issued by the authorities, it can be charged of failure to provide the mandatory
Mandatory Guidelines for Educational Institutes and Ragging in University
The University Grants Commission (UGC) was asked to take immediate action and frame regulations, which were later released under Section 26 (1) (g) of the University Grants Commission Act. Called 'UGC Regulations on Curbing the Menace of Ragging in Higher Educational Institutions, 2009', the regulations were circulated to all universities and other education institutions for implementation on an immediate basis. Important points in the regulations
a) Every institute will constitute a committee to be known as anti-ragging committee, led by the head of the institute and consisting of representatives of civil and police administration.
b) The institute will also constitute a smaller body called Anti-Ragging Squad for maintaining vigil, oversight and patrolling functions. It may make surprise raids on hostels and other places vulnerable to ragging activities.
c) A mentoring cell consisting of students will also be constituted at the end of every academic year for promoting the objectives of the regulations.
d) The institute will schedule joint sensitisation programmes and counselling for both freshers and senior students by a professional counsellor.
Punishing the Guilty
As per the anti ragging law, any student found guilty of ragging becomes criminal, and the institute reserves the right to suspend or rusticate criminals who may be a threat to the life of other students of the same institute. In no way the institute can be charged or held guilty of negligence or deficiency in services for eliminating bad elements from their campus.