Saturday, 29 July 2017

Abhishek Naharia 007

Ragging as an offence: Prohibition, Prevention and Punishment

"This is the last day of my life…
...neither could I be a good son or a good boy…
…I love you Babuji ”

Understanding Ragging:

The idea of ragging was borrowed long back from the US, where it is known as, Hazing. The idea basically was to pull down freshers, students to shame and make them bow in whatsoever manner may deem fit to them. In early times, it used to be treated as a form of general social interaction between seniors and juniors in Schools and Colleges. However, with a period of time, this has come out to be brutal and barbaric in nature causing social, physical, and physiological damages to the victim. Nowadays even the most prestigious institutions have a terrible history of such activities. This not only defames the kind of Education System where we study but also the kind of values our parents inculcate in us. Many of us among the common masses are of the view that Ragging is an annual tradition to be celebrated every year when a group of members arrive at a place completely unknown to them. It thus becomes the responsibility of the seniors to handle their juniors with utter care and make them feel like home at the college. Ragging basically starts when a senior loses his self-control over small petty issues and then continues to occur during a month and so onwards. It is not only a violation of basic human rights of the child being victimized but also the violation of the moral rights of the victim. In simple words, ragging is just a misdemeanor caused to the innocent students whether in written or spoken form. Be it manhandling students rudely or indulging in rowdy actions with them, any fear or apprehension of the sort that causes annoyance and hardship in the mind of the victim are Ragging. Moreover, asking students for help in activities not meant to be done by them, bullying them in a manner as such causing embarrassment to them are included in the ambit of Ragging. It basically is a manner to show off the unnecessary unwanted power for pleasure as well as acting Superior to overpower them.

Ragging As An Offence:

There have been many States which have adopted a very strict approach towards Ragging. States such as Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Kerala, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territories such as Goa, Chandigarh have adopted strict approaches. Central Legislations such as the Indian Penal Code, UGC Regulations on Curbing the Menace of Ragging in Higher Educational Institutions, 2009 and other Institute specific regulations have been enacted for curbing Ragging.

In the year 1997, Tamil Nadu firstly passed laws relating to Tamil Nadu. It was carried on by Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra in the following years. In 2006, Dr R.K. Raghavan Committee was formed for curbing the menace. The committee was recommended to be formed by the Ministry of HRD to suggest measures to control ragging. Dr Raghavan was the former Director of CBI at the time pf the formation of the committee. Subsequent to that, on May 2007 the committee submitted its report to the Hon’ble Supreme Court, which also included the proposal to include Ragging as a special section of IPC.

The legal battle for Ragging then continued with Vishwa Jagriti Mission case[1] coming at the first place, wherein the Hon’ble Court had held that merely by making Ragging a cognizable offence thus issue cannot be curbed and that the students go to Colleges and Universities not for being reported to Police. Therefore, it is not only the fear of the students to get arrested by the Police that may reduce these incidences, but the faith of the authorities must be maintained in the Universities concerned and that the responsibility be fixed in the Professors and Administrators of the College to ensure that no such incidence occurs at any incidence of time. Another relevant judgement passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court was in the year 2007, The University of Kerala v Council Principals, Colleges Kerala & Ors.[2]

Every subsequent there are about ten to twenty killings that are reported across India, and the figure just counts to those ones being Counted, the uncountable ones are just not in reach to the Authorities. Therefore, under 10-13 Sections of the Indian Penal Code, varying from Section 294 to Section 506, under Obscene acts and acts, Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt, voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapon or means, punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt, voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapon, Wrongful Restraint, Wrongful Confinement, Punishment for Wrongful Restraint, Punishment for Wrongful Confinement, Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to Murder.

The Consequences of Ragging are as bad as they could be thought of, including cancellation of admission, suspension from attending classes, withdrawing scholarship and other benefits, debarring from appearing in exam evaluation process, withholding results, debarring the student from representing in any national, international or youth festival, suspension from Hostel, restriction from institution for a period of 1-4 years, expulsion from an institution and barring from admission in any other institution, fine up to Rs. 25,000 and many others among them.

Conclusion:

Prevention is better than cure. So, it is better for the authorities to discipline and punish the offenders at proper time intervals. Providing the students with Anti-Ragging methods at the very beginning of the Semesters, encouraging the young minds into non-indulgence of such activities. Strict actions such as termination of the course the student is pursuing as well as initiation of proceedings against the accused in the Court of law, if required might be adopted. Alternate ways must be derived out so that healthy interactions arise out. Furthermore, initiatives such as the ongoing Aman movement must be taken and more and more of such affidavits must be filed at the time of admissions itself. Anti-ragging posters, banners, notices depicting the consequences of such acts must be placed at strategic points in the campus to denote the fact is Ragging is highly unacceptable. Formation of Anti-Ragging Committees, making available the free ragging helpline, and allowing complaint boxes to be kept at proper places can also mean to curb the nightmare of juniors. Unfortunately, the traditional practice of familiarizing with the newcomers has led to a create a potent gap between the juniors and seniors. There have been students in the past who have laid down precedents to fight this battle and there are expected to be such heroes in the future. Supervising the efforts of the students as well as concerned authorities at proper time intervals, and with a collective effort, the boundaries of Ragging can be broken apart very soon.
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[1] Vishwa Jagriti Mission v Central Government, W.P. No. (C) 656 of 1998.
[2] University of Kerala v Council, Principals Colleges Kerala &  Ors., SLP (C) N. 24295 of 2004.