Bandra college to be derecognised for mishandling sexual harassment case

Bandra college to be derecognised for mishandling sexual harassment case
LS Raheja college in Bandra.

In a bold decision that would now force institutions take complaints of sexual harassment at workplace more seriously, the University of Mumbai (MU) has banned admissions to the Bachelors of Architecture course at LS Raheja School of Architecture in Bandra for suspending a staff member from work after she had complained about sexual harassment by a colleague.

The varsity’s academic council also decided to cancel the college’s affiliation to the university due to non-compliance of recommendations made by the Women’s Development Cell (WDC) in the sexual harassment case. The college was asked to form an internal complaints committee to look into this specific matter and other matters, if any, in the future, but the institute failed to do so.

The case dates back to 2011 when a female accountant from the institute’s office complained about sexual and mental harassment by a senior colleague. While she had filed the complaint at the Maharashtra State Women’s Commission, the case was redirected to the WDC found the accused guilty and recommended termination of his services.

While the accused was suspended from his job almost a year after the university sent a series of showcause notices to the college, the complainant also faced the same punishment. The college, in 2013, barred the entry of the complainant in the premises and also allegedly harassed three witnesses, eventually suspending the complainant as well.

“While the action to withdraw affiliation of the institute has been initiated, the college will not be allowed to conduct admissions in 2016-17,” M A Khan, registrar of MU told media.

Meanwhile, Arvind Khanolkar, in-charge principal of the institute, said there was no reason to punish them. “It is surprising such a decision is taken because we had submitted all the papers and replies that we were asked to. Even the accused has been suspended,” he said.

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