The Student Bar Council of the National Law University and Judicial Academy Assam (NLUJAA) has written to the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court, seeking that the Vice-Chancellor of NLUJAA, Professor J S Patil – who is facing investigation in an FIR on sexual harassment allegations – should step down from his position, temporarily, till the investigation against him is over.
The complaints have been registered against Patil by the Gauhati Police on allegations that he had indecently exposed himself to his neighbours. The first complaint was jointly filed by 18 women, while the second one was filed by an advocate seeking an investigation into the matter.
According to the complaint, the university VC allegedly showed “his genitals” to a mother-daughter duo. The complaint also alleges that Patil had been engaging in such indecent activities on multiple occasions; particularly targeting the women of his neighbourhood.
Students body condemns the statements made by the VC which may derail the hope of a fair trial, intimidate the complainants, blame the students, faculty and staff members of conspiracy and may defame the position of the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court.
“The Chancellor of NLUJAA also happens to be the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court and the Vice-Chancellor claiming his ‘backing’ even before the matter has been investigated creates a dangerous precedent and provides fodder for the fear that the Vice-Chancellor may use his connections and acquaintances in the State Judiciary to steer clear of a fair trial,” students body wrote.
They also requested the Superintendent of Police, Kamrup Rural to ensure safety of the complainants and their families and also to investigate into whether, as being claimed by media and the complainants, on 18th July,2020, the day on which the Facebook post alleging sexual harassment against the Vice-Chancellor came up, women of the neighbourhood protested outside the Vice-Chancellor’s residence for the same allegations.
The Student Bar Council wrote to the Assam State Commission for Women, The Bar Council of Assam and the Gauhati High Court Bar Association to ensure that the complainants get proper legal assistance.