NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today asked some JNU teachers, who have challenged the university's decision to disband the sexual harassment panel, to meet the administration and try to resolve the issue.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Pratibha M Singh also asked Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to maintain status quo on the sealing of the office of Gender Sensitisation Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) committee which has been superceded by an internal complaints committee (ICC).
While the court asked the varsity not to make it a prestige issue, it also observed that every rule and policy can be changed but a proper procedure has to be followed.
"You (teachers) cannot say that the earlier policy was better than this one. Teachers are not administration.
Certainly you have a role to say but you cannot say that the policy cannot be changed," the bench said.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain and advocate Ginny J Rautray, appearing for JNU, urged the court to hear the issue of opening of sealed rooms of the panel's office as 12 cases of sexual harrassment have been received after the new regime has taken over.
To this, the court said it would be heard on November 28 when the main petition is listed for hearing.
The petition by some teachers and students had opposed the quashing of the office orders superseding the GSCASH by the ICC and a Registrar's circular putting on hold the election of the students' representatives to it.
The court noted that the petitioner teachers have agreed that three of their representatives would hold a meeting with the university administration on November 9 and try to resolve the issue.
The JNU also filed a counter affidavit on the plea before the court.
The court had earlier sought responses of JNU and the University Grant Commission (UGC) on the plea by some teachers and students challenging the decision to disband the panel.
Petitioners counsel had earlier said 25 complaints were pending before GSCASH and urged the court to order freezing of documents and maintenance of records.
However, the JNU's counsel had said the university was willing to preserve the records of the pending complaints and will not proceed with any pending enquiry for the time being.
He had also said JNU has come up with the ICC on the UGC's directions which have to be complied with by every university. GSCASH has been substituted by ICC, he had said.
The JNU administration had in its 269th Executive Council meeting held on September 18 ordered the dissolution of the independent body, GSCASH.
Ever since the administration announced the decision in a circular by the Registrar, the students and teachers were up in arms against the move. It had also put on hold the polls for electing student representatives to the GSCASH.
As an interim relief, the petitioners had sought a stay on operation of the supersession order and a direction to JNU to preserve all records of GSCASH from 1999 till date in consultation with GCASH.
The petition was filed by three teachers and three students — Prof Madhu Sahni, Prof Rajat Dutta, Prof Hemant Adlakha, Ritika Kar, Rituraj Sharma and Sonam Goyal.