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Tanda Case
SC: Gun culture of West may catch on
Court expresses concern over parents’ unreasonable demands
R. Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, April 23
The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict in the ragging case relating to the Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College (RPGMC), Tanda, and various other states after expressing concern over the deteriorating value system and parents’ unreasonable expectations that had a devastating effect on the psyche of the students.

A Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and AK Ganguly asked the Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh governments, educational regulatory bodies and the Amicus Curiae to put their heads together and evolve proposals for checking the menace of ragging and submit them by April 27. The regulatory bodies include the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). The cases had arisen from a spate of ragging incidents in various states, including Himachal Pradesh where a 19-year-old medical student (Aman Satya Kachroo) of RPGMC died on March 8.

During the hour-long arguments, witnessed by Aman's parents, Amicus Curiae Gopal Subramanium pressed for the appointment of independent administrators in colleges to check ragging. Counsel for HP and AP — Altaf Ahmed and PP Rao opposed the proposal, stating this was not legally possible and dilute the importance of principals, who were the sole authority and accountable for the smooth functioning of their respective institutions. The proceedings witnessed both the Judges butt in with several observations, regretting campus violence and the tremendous pressure on the students, both from their parents and the peer group.

“The ‘gun culture’ witnessed on the campuses of the United States and other western nations, was not far off in India if the situation was allowed to drift without any checks and balances,” the Bench felt.

Don’t dilute principal’s authority: HP

The Himachal Pradesh government today filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, opposing the proposals of Amicus Curiae for the appointment of an independent administrator at the Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College (RPGMC) and an inquiry by a retired IAS officer against former principal Dr Suresh Sankhyan.

Chief Secretary Asha Swarup, who has filed the affidavit, however, accepted the proposal for setting up a committee of eminent psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health specialists to “immediately examine the problem of alcoholism on the RPGMC campus” and suggested immediate de-addiction measures.

The state government also took exception to the Medical Council of India (MCI) placing the onus on the then principal. “This has led to shifting of the focus on Dr Suresh Sankhyan who happened to be the Principal of the college on 6/7 March 2009 whereas the focus should be on the culture prevailing in the institution as a whole,” the Chief Secretary said.

No move to de-recognise college: Centre

The Centre today allayed the apprehension that there was a move to close down the Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College (RPGMC), Tanda, in view of rampant ragging that recently claimed the life of Aman Satya Kachroo.

The fear of closure appeared to have gripped the students of the college. This was evident from the fact that they were not forthcoming in reporting incidents of ragging or in cooperating with the investigation, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, who is also Amicus Curiae in the ragging case, told the Supreme Court.

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