Wednesday, December 26, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Code against sexual harassment
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Tribune News Service

A draft ‘code of conduct and discipline for avoidance of sexual harassment’ in the university has been recommended by a committee to the Panjab University Senate which is due to meet shortly.

The committee has recommended that “sexual harassment amounts to misconduct and, therefore, the relevant service and conduct rules regarding misconduct should be amended accordingly”.

The committee studied several related documents before preparing its final report. These documents included the guidelines and norms laid down by the Supreme Court; the code of conduct framed by the University of Madras; the code of conduct for workplace framed by the National Commission for Women; various communications on framing a code of conduct received from the University Grants Commission; and the recommendations of the Gosal Committee constituted by this university.

The code specifies misconduct which includes: physical contact and advances; demand or request for sexual favour; sexually-coloured remarks; showing pornography; any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.

The committee has mentioned preventive steps to avoid unpleasant situations. The prohibition should be notified prominently; the person in charge of the workplace should try to create such working conditions that there is no hostile environment against women; the person in charge of a workplace should report any instance of such harassment to the appropriate authority (Grievance Cell) immediately.

The Vice-Chancellor will constitute a grievances cell consisting of at least six members. A woman professor will head the cell. The aggrieved party should lodge a complaint within 15 days of the incident, but more time can be allowed if there is reasonable justification for the delay in reporting.

Complaints should contain all material and relevant details of the alleged contravention. However, when the complainant prefers not to disclose her identity, the complaint should be addressed to the head of the institution and handed over in person in a sealed cover. If the person complained against happens to be a student, he should be given full opportunity to file a reply, before imposing a penalty on him.

Framing of a similar code of conduct in the affiliated colleges has also been suggested. Frivolous or vexatious complaints can be dismissed with or without costs.



NSS volunteers discuss women empowerment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
NSS volunteers have started the project work to develop a ‘Vatika’ in MCM DAV College, according to an official press note issued here today. To mark the International Year of Women Empowerment, the national integration camp is being organised from December 22 to 31.

The NSS volunteers who have come from different states interacted with Dr (Ms) Rajesh Gill from the Department of Sociology, Panjab University, on women empowerment. The groups from Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh presented a cultural programme. Dr C.L.Narang, NSS Programme Co-ordinator, PU, was the chief guest on the occasion.

Tomorrow evening, Jyoti Srivastava, a renowned Odissi dancer and disciple of Guru Durga Charan Ranbir, will perform.



Chain fast enters sixth day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
On the issue of non-release of Rs 100 crore pending salary grants by the Punjab Finance Department, the ongoing chain fast entered the sixth day in front of the office of the DPI (Punjab), here today.

Those who sat on the fast include Principal Labh Singh Kheeva, TDP College, Rampuraphull, Prof Parminder Singh, Prof Suresh Tandon, Arya College, Ludhiana, Prof S.S. Sangha, Fellow, Panjab University, Prof Tarlok Bandhu, Malwa College of Education, Ludhiana, Mr Ravinder Kumar, Mr Kishore Kumar, Mr Shiv Gopal and Mr Sanjeev Kumar from BBR DAV College for Women, Amritsar.



Allow officer to join duty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
Quashing an order passed by the authorities at Ferozepore’s General Hospital vide which a Welfare Officer’s name was struck off, Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Secretary-General of the Indian Red Cross Society and other respondents to permit the petitioner to join duty.

Delivering the verdict on a petition filed by Ms Naresh Sharma, Mr Justice Gill also quashed another order passed by the Secretary-General directing the hospital authorities to relieve the petitioner of her charge.

Seeking the quashing of the orders, counsel for the petitioner had contended that Ms Sharma was initially relieved of her duties from Amritsar’s Military Hospital following a transfer, but when she joined her duties at Ferozepore, she was not allowed to work for several months and thus her name was struck off from the hospital rolls.

Counsel for the respondents, on the other hand, had argued that the petitioner was guilty of wilfully disobeying the orders as she deliberately and purposefully did not join duty at her new place of posting.

After going through the record and hearing the arguments, Mr Justice Gill observed: “The petitioner had fallen ill and she took sick leave and then after she became well, she joined duty at the General Hospital. It is strange that all of a sudden after allowing the petitioner to join, the respondents realised that she could not be taken into service at the hospital though no valid was given. She was struck off the rolls and then was not allowed to join at Amritsar nor Ferozepore. There has been no grave error on the part of the petitioner.... This is a clear act of arbitrariness on the part of the respondents.”

Order to close history sheet

Allowing a petition filed by a 28-year-old finance company manager, Mr Justice V.M. Jain of the High Court directed the closure of history sheet opened against the petitioner at various police stations.

Pronouncing the orders, Mr Justice Jain also directed the deletion of the petitioner’s name from the surveillance register. In his petition, Sarabjit Singh of Amritsar had contended that he was not even once convicted by any court and as such his name could not have been entered in to the surveillance register.

PPSC restrained on result

Taking up a petition filed by two Bathinda residents seeking directions to the Punjab Public Service Commission, the state of Punjab and other respondents, for reholding examinations for selecting Assistant District Attorneys, Mr Justice Jasbir Singh of the High Court today restrained the respondents from declaring the result.

Issuing the directions, Mr Justice Jasbir Singh directed the continuation of the interviews but added that the result should be kept in a sealed cover. The Judge added that the stay orders will remain in operation till January 3 next year “subject to any order passed by Division Bench on January 2, 2002”.

In their petition, Amarjit Singh Ahluwalia and Rajan Sharma had sought directions for quashing the examination held by the respondents. They had added that the same were illegal, null and void “marred by corrupt practices”.


Eventful year throws up many firsts
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, December 25
It has been as year in which a number of famous personalities were summoned to the District Courts, proceedings were disrupted following a number of hoax calls, photography was banned on the court premises, chambers were allotted to a number of advocates and depositors from all over India visited the court for settlement of their cases with Golden Forests India Limited.

Summons against many politicians were issued and the first case of contract killing came up here. The year proved tough for correspondents as photography was banned in the court. The city police reportedly helped the accused a number of times and produced them in various courts through a gate meant only for judges.

Following a number of hoax calls which disturbed court proceedings for hours, a caller identification system was installed in the district courts and other offices in the complex. Additional security personnel were deployed at the entrance gate of the court. The construction of a yard hydrant system was undertaken in the district courts. Every floor of the building would be connected through pipes with a tank.

Lawyers in the district courts were up in arms against officials in the administration for not setting a dispensary and lift in the court. Four old persons reportedly died during proceedings in the court. Despite a number of complaints, the authorities were unable to do anything about the unhygienic conditions prevailing in the court. Toilets remained in a bad condition.

After getting a good response from advocates and litigants, special lok adalats were held several times this year. Punjab and Haryana High Court Judges, and the District and Sessions Judge actively participated and granted compensation to litigants.

After receiving a number of complaints from advocates, the Department of Health Services conducted a number of raids at the canteen in the district court. The UT Estate Office removed the kiosk canteen on the court premises, but it become operational the next day. After years of struggle, about 40 lawyers in the court were allotted slots in the chambers by the UT Estate Office.

The dowry case filed against Mr Surjit Singh Barnala and members of his family by his daughter-in-law, Ms Parveshbir Kaur, was dismissed as both parties reached at a compromise. Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and seven others were acquitted by the court in a case registered against them under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code on June 14. Bibi Jagir Kaur was summoned in a defamation suit filed against her by the Guru Ashara Trust.

The case against Punjabi singer Babbo Mann was filed by a number of local residents on June 25 for his song “Chak lo revolver, riflan, kabja laina hai” of the album “Saun di jhadi”.



Realistic themes his forte
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, December 25
If you think romanticism and poetry are two sides of the same coin think again, because Urdu poet Om Krishan, who uses 'Rahat' as his pen name, has nine collections of poems and five of short stories to his credit and none of these has to do anything with romance.

"Romance is not the only facet of life which can be portrayed through poetry," says Om Krishan who is settled in Sydney at present. Instead of limiting himself to the make believe world of romance he sought out some more realistic themes — miseries and values of life.

His voice on behalf of the downtrodden people and depiction of simple happiness and pain in day to day life has been well appreciated by people all over the country. No wonder that most of his books have been awarded by different societies. Among his prize winning Urdu poetry collections- "Shafaq Zar" was by Uttar Pradesh Urdu academy, "Khon Nab" by All India Mir Academy, Lucknow, "Kohi- i- Nida" by West Bengal Urdu Academy.

Equally adept at writing short stories in Urdu, Om Krishan has a few award winning books to his credit, one of which is "Ek Ankh Wala Hiran" which was a warded by both the West Bengal and Haryana Urdu Academy and "Basi Hoth" by the UP Urdu Academy, Lucknow and "Kahi an Kahi" by the Bhasha Bibhag, Punjab.

Not only that he has also received the Rajinder Singh Bedi Award by Bhasha Bibhag and with Shan-e-Urdu Australia Urdu Academy for his overall contribution the language. Apart from his Urdu and Hindi poetry collections, his Punjabi poetry collection called "Suke Rukhan di Chhan" also proved to quite a success.

Om Krishan who aspired to be a film song writer started writing poetry at the age of 13 and at 14 he also had one publication "Shau Noor" in hand . After graduating from Government College, Ludhiana, he moved to Mumbai to try his luck as a song writer but after working for about a year or two as a camera assistant in a V. Shantaram's film he eventually lost interest in song writing.

"To write songs for films one has to lower one's standard as a writer and limit his expression at par with the requirement with the story," he says. "My writing is directed more towards the corrupt socio- political system and the miseries of the downtrodden", he adds.

The disappointment with the showbiz was what prompted him to come back and join Haryana Electricity Board for the financial security that would give enough space to write. But half the credit of his success story goes to his wife Sudesh Sud who not only supported him through thick and thin but also helped him with the translation of his Hindi short story collection called "Ek Tashbir Adhuri Si."

Om Prakash is on his way to publish his 15th book, another collection of Urdu poems which is likely to come out by March next year. "The four-five years that I am left with, I would solely dedicate to writing," says the 76-year-old writer.


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