AICTE, the apex regulator of technical education, has amended the Ragging Regulations and warned the students from indulging into behaviour of bullying or isolating fellow students on grounds of race, colour, caste, gender or religion.
Earlier, in light of some unfortunate incidents UGC by Gazette dated 29.06.2016, had similar amendment in the Clause 3 of UGC Regulations on Curbing the menace of Ragging in Higher Educational Institutions, 2009.
The Amendment notified by AICTE and notified on 22.02.2017, would now mean that “any act of physical or mental abuse (including bullying and exclusion) targeted at another student (fresher or otherwise) on the ground of colour, race, religion, caste, ethnicity, gender (including transgender), sexual orientation, appearance, nationality, regional origins, linguistic identity, place of birth, place of residence or economic background”, would also mean “Ragging”.
Taking cognizance of this heinous crime, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of “University of Kerala v/s. Council, Principals, Colleges and others” had constituted a Committee to address the issues of ragging and also frame regulations to arrest the menace of Ragging. UCG in the year 2009, with the objective to prohibit, prevent and eliminate the scourge of ragging had notified UGC Regulations on Curbing the menace of Ragging in Higher Educational Institutions, 2009.
The Regulations, broadly define “Ragging” as any conduct which has the effect of ill-treating a junior or fresher to cause annoyance, hardship or psychological harm or to raise fear or apprehension leading to a sense of shame, or embarrassment affecting the physique or psyche of such fresher or any other student. Ragging is also defined as an act to derive a sadistic pleasure or showing off power, authority or superiority by a student over any fresher or any other student. This includes disrupting studies, financial extortion, sexual abuse etc. A student who is found guilty of ‘Ragging’ may be suspended from attending classes and academic privileges.
The Regulations also provides that the Institute can also withhold scholarship/ fellowship and other benefits or debarring them from appearing in any test/ examination or other evaluation process and withholding results. In extreme cases, it may also result in cancellation of admission or rustication from Institution.
The Regulations recognizes that the Institution has vital role to play in curbing the menace of Ragging and hence it has warned the Institution that it fails to take action in case of Ragging then the Council may withdraw any allocated grants and declare that the erring Institution is ineligible for consideration for any assistance and it does not possess the minimum academic standards. In extreme cases, it may also lead to withdrawal of affiliation / recognition.
UGC has also launched a dedicated website for this purpose: www.antiragging.in. According to the statistics available on the website, since the year 2009, a total of 3932 complaints have been lodged till date. A maximum number of 704 Complaints have been lodged in State of Uttar Pradesh followed by 471 from Bengal and 409 from Madhya Pradesh. Notably, 210 Complaints have been lodged from State of Maharashtra.
The ragging complaint have seen rise from 423 in 2015 to 515 in 2016, almost rise by 25 %, this is serious issue and raises concern on the level of implementation and enforcement of the Ragging Regulations. In the year 2017, as of today around 79 Complaints have been lodged.
Further studying it Gender Wise, it is seen that out of all the Complaints 85 % of the Complaints have been made by male students, remaining 15 % accounting for complaint by girls.
Ragging is worst possible heinous crime, which affects the youth and has to be tackled at all levels. Government has made laws and regulations to address the situation and problem has been arrested to a substantial extent.
Though the mechanism has been strengthened to punish the crime of ragging but the rising figures raises certain doubts on the implementation and enforcement of regulations. I believe, the Regulations needs to be relooked to see a successful achievement. We have Regulations in place, but what we lack is the monitoring mechanism to see its spirited enforcement.
The amendment in the Regulations to protect a person from any conduct of physical or mental abuse relating to caste, race, sex of a person is also found in Article 15 and 16 of Constitution of India and the amendment further propagates the mandate of the Constitution.
Good One !