Ragging- What You can Do about it

What amounts to Ragging?

To raise fear or apprehension in the minds of fresher or junior students at any higher educational institute,

· If anyone acts in a manner which is disorderly conduct either by way of acts or words spoken, the effect of which is teasing, or

· If someone treats or handles any other student with rudeness, or

· If they undertake any rowdy or undisciplined activity, which causes annoyance, hardship or psychological harm to the junior student, or

· If any person asks the students to do any act or perform something, which such student will not do in the ordinary course, which has the effect of causing shame or embarrassment to adversely affect the physique or psyche of a junior student

Any of such conduct above mentioned amounts to ragging. Ragging as an offence holds all persons involved directly or indirectly accountable. Any person who leads the ragging, any person who is actively involved in ragging or anyone who physically participates while ragging is done, someone who plays a part in how the ragging would be conducted although he might not be physically present at the time of ragging, all of these persons are held responsible for offence of ragging.

Is Ragging a Criminal Offence?

Ragging in India is a criminal offence covered under various laws, including the Indian Penal Code, UGC Regulations on Curbing the Menace of Ragging in Higher Educational Institutions in general and several state and institutional legislations for particular states and institutes respectively.

Punishments under the Indian Penal Code against acts of Ragging:

Ragging or being an accomplice, assisting or abetting in Ragging can invoke the provisions of Indian Penal Code depending on the nature of the action so committed. For example: if a fresher is made to do obscene acts or sing obscene songs, if he or she is made to strip, or if he/she is beaten up or harmed whether using weapons or otherwise, if he/ she is locked up in any place wrongfully, or if he/ she is made to consume drugs/ drink alchohal against his/her will etc.

Punishments under the Jammu and Kashmir Prohibition of Ragging Act, 2011:

Under Section 4, any person who either directly or indirectly commits or participates in or abets or propagates ragging within or outside any educational institution is punishable with imprisonment up to two years or with a fine up to ten thousand rupees or with both.

If the particular person committing or abetting Ragging is not identified, every person participating in, or present at, such ragging activity is liable to punishment under the Act, and collective punishment will be assigned as a deterrent punishment and to ensure joint pressure on the potential raggers

Students convicted for Ragging under Section 4 of the JK Act have to be rusticated from the rolls of the educational institute. Also, they would not be admitted to any educational institution in State for three years from the date of such removal under Section 7 of the Act. Under Section 8, a student against whom a complaint of Ragging is received shall be suspended right away from the said institution and shall not be allowed to enter the premises of the educational institution till the final outcome of the complaint. Such students shall not be entitled to any facilities of such institute boarding home/ hostel and the mess.

To which institutions do the UGC Regulations on Curbing the Menace of Ragging In Higher Educational Institutions, 2009 apply?

UGC regulations to curb the menace of Ragging were passed by the University Grants Commission in the year 2009, and these regulations apply to all institutions, including

(i) those institutes established under the Central/provincial/state Act

(ii) Deemed university under the UGC Act, 1956

(iii) All other educational institutions

What are essential regulations to be followed by educational institutes to prevent Ragging?

Anti-Ragging Committee: Every institution shall constitute an Anti-Ragging Committee with a diverse membership. Anti-Ragging Committee must ensure compliance with the provisions of the Regulations and the requirements of any law for the time being in force concerning Ragging. The College is required to submit weekly reports on anti-ragging status to the Vice-Chancellor of the University.

Publishing that Ragging is banned: The institutions are required to publish that Ragging is totally prohibited in the institution, and anyone found doing/abetting ragging would be suitably punished.

Brochures/Application Form/Enrollment Form: The college brochures are required to mention these guidelines in full. The prospectus would include all directions of Supreme Court/Central and State Government as applicable. The application/enrollment form for admission will have an undertaking in English and Hindi and preferably one in regional language to be signed by parent/guardian. The school-leaving certificate should reflect the behavioural pattern of the student.

Affidavit/ Undertaking of Student: A student during the admission process has to file an affidavit and his parents/guardian's signature, stating that he will not be ragging other students directly or indirectly.

Contact detail of Anti Ragging Helpline/Anti Ragging Committee/Anti Ragging Squad:

Every fresh student admitted to the institution shall be given a printed leaflet detailing to whom they have to turn for help and guidance for various purposes. It should include addresses and telephone numbers to enable the student to contact the concerned person at any time. The identity of informants of ragging incidents is fully protected. On the notice board, it shall display the name, address, and contact number of the person or authority to whom a fresher should approach for help and guidance.

Anti-ragging squad: Anti-ragging committee would also monitor and oversee the performance of the Anti-Ragging Squad. It shall be the duty of the Anti-Ragging Squad to make surprise raids on hostels and other places vulnerable to incidents of, and having the potential of, ragging. At the commencement of the academic session, the educational institution should constitute a proctorial committee consisting of senior faculty members and hostel authorities like Wardens and a few responsible senior students to-.

(a) keep a continuous watch and vigil over Ragging to prevent its occurrence and recurrence; and

(b) promptly deal with the incidents of Ragging brought to its notice and summarily punish the guilty, either by itself or by putting forth its finding/recommendations/suggestions before the authority competent to take action ;

(vi) all vulnerable locations shall be identified and especially watched ;

(vii) the local community and the students, in particular, shall be made aware of the dehumanizing effect of Ragging inherent in its perversity and posters, notice boards and signboards, wherever necessary, may be used for the purpose ;

FIR: The guidelines lay down that on receipt of any information concerning any reported incident of Ragging, the Head of the institution shall immediately determine if a case under the penal laws is made out and, if so, either on his own or through a member of the Anti-Ragging Committee, proceed to file a First Information Report (FIR), within twenty-four hours of receipt of such information.

Evaluation of Ragging: It lays down that The Anti-Ragging Committee of the institution shall take an appropriate decision regarding punishment or otherwise, depending on the facts of each incident of Ragging and nature and gravity of the incident of Ragging established in the recommendations of the Anti-Ragging Squad.

Allotment of separate hostels to fresher students: The university must provide separate hostels to newer students under the guidelines.

Procedure for making a complaint under the JK Act:

Whenever any student, parent or guardian, teacher of an educational institution complains, in writing, of ragging to the Head of an educational institution, the Head of that educational institution shall inquire within seven days of receipt, the matter mentioned in the complaint. Suppose prima facie the complaint is found valid. In that case, he shall immediately forward the complaint to the police station having jurisdiction over the area in which such educational institution is situated for registering a case under the Act.

If on an inquiry by the Head of the educational institution, it is found that there is no substance in the complaint received under sub-section, he shall intimate the fact in writing to the complainant.

Suppose the Head of any educational institution fails or neglects to take action in the manner specified when a complaint of Ragging is made. In that case, he shall be deemed to have abetted offence of Ragging and shall be punishable with imprisonment or fine under section 4.

Anti-Ragging Helpline:

Following a Supreme Court order, a National Anti-Ragging Helpline was created to help the victims and take action in cases of ragging, by informing the head of the institution and the local police authorities of the ragging complaint from the college. The main feature of the helpline is that the complaints can be registered anonymously. India's National Anti-Ragging Helpline started working in June 2009 to help students in distress due to ragging. It can be reached through email and a 24-hour toll-free number.

Published on 06th August, 2021


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