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SC gets tough on campus ragging
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 8
The Supreme Court today directed all the states to set up two committees each, one for de-addicting the students hooked to alcoholism and another for providing counselling, both psychiatric and psychological, that would deal with the root-cause of rampant ragging on campuses across the country.

The verdict by a Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and AK Ganguly has come in the wake of the death of 19-year-old Aman Kachroo, a first year medical student at the Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College (RPGMC) at Tanda, Himachal Pradesh, on March 8 this year. Several other incidents had also been reported from various states, including Andhra Pradesh, where a girl student was allegedly stripped and forced to dance nude at the Government Agriculture and Engineering College, Bapatla.

Today's directive would be in addition to the slew of steps already taken following the apex court order on May 16, 2007 and subsequently on various dates on the basis of the recommendations of the Raghavan Committee that monitors measures to prevent ragging in higher educational institutions. The measures that are in force include laws that prohibit and provide for punishment for ragging. Universities and colleges have set up anti-ragging squads and committees.

Justice Pasayat read out just two sentences from the judgment before signing it in the open court and the details would be known only after a copy of the verdict is made available.

Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, who helped the court in his capacity as Amicus Curiae, had suggested the appointment of such committees, comprising eminent psychiatrists and teachers, for taking "mandatory mental health measures" at educational institutions.

A sub-committee constituted by Raghavan had found that Aman had been beaten to death by a group of drunken students. Welcoming the verdict, Aman's father Dr Rajendra Kachroo told reporters that he was happy that the court had accepted the suggestions of the ASG. However, things would be back to square one unless such orders were implemented in letter and spirit.

Reacting to the judgement, Raghavan said parents should also play an active role in checking the scourge, supplementing the efforts of the judiciary and the official machinery.

During the arguments, the ASG had suggested that police officers such as the SP and the SHO be entrusted with the responsibility of checking ragging. Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh governments had, however, opposed this, arguing that this would come in the way of ensuring an atmosphere conducive to study and research.



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