LUCKNOW: The Board of Governors of IIT-Kanpur has decided to issue a show cause notice to four senior professors of the institute who were found guilty of harassing a junior professor belonging to a scheduled caste. The decision to this effect was taken in a meeting of the Board Of Governors (BOG) of IIT-Kanpur held in Noida Extension (IIT-K campus in Noida) on Thursday.
The four professors had been under the scanner for alleged harassment of a Dalit faculty member of the Department of Aerospace Engineering earlier this year. Even the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) had directed the institute's management to suspend the four and lodge an FIR against them after they were found guilty of using a caste-related slur against the faculty member, who is also an IIT-K graduate.
The BOG also inferred that the senior professors had violated the conduct rules under the statute of the institute. "The Board decided that on the basis of the inquiry report which holds all the four professors guilty of harassing a junior professor belonging to scheduled caste, show cause notice be issued to them and their response be sought," said a highly placed source in IIT-Kanpur.
Sources added that based on the reply of the four guilty professors, a decision on the quantum of punishment to be given to them would be taken in the next board meeting, which is likely to be held in the first week of October.
Dr Subramaniam Sundrela had joined IIT-K as assistant professor in January this year. Dr Sundrela had alleged that during a seminar in October last year, the four accused professors "continuously asked him questions and joked in such a manner as to make him feel ridiculed".
He had brought the matter to the notice of the institution's management, including the director. A three-member panel headed by Prof Vinay Kumar Pathak of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, was set up to probe the charges levelled by Dr Sundrela.
The committee, which submitted its report to the institution's director, found the four professor guilty of harassing Sundrela. The probe report was placed before the IIT-K Board of Governing Council on March 19 to decide the nature of action to be taken against the guilty professors.
However, the board did not take any action and instead advised Dr Sundrela to reach a compromise with the guilty professors. Dr Sundrela rejected the suggestion and approached the NCSC with his complaint.
Taking a serious note of the issue, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes recommended suspension of the four professors besides lodging of an FIR against them under the SC/ST Act-1989. The NCSC directed the IIT-K administration to submit an action taken report on May 1.
On a notice issued by the Commission, Director, IIT-K, along with other senior faculty members, had appeared before the NCSC on April 10 with the probe report pertaining to allegations of harassment levelled by the Dalit assistant professor.