Kalakshetra row: Independent enquiry committee finds teacher Hari Padman guilty of misconduct 

Levelling allegations of sexual harassment on the campus, a section of students staged a protest in March this year seeking justice.
Kalakshetra faculty member Hari Padman (Photo | Special Arrangement)
Kalakshetra faculty member Hari Padman (Photo | Special Arrangement)

CHENNAI: An independent committee of inquiry was set up by the Kalakshetra Foundation to look into the allegations of sexual harassment against its faculty member said it submitted its report on Monday. 

The committee's report indicated Hari Padman, a senior dance teacher at Kalakshetra Foundation's Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts (RDFCA), against who the allegations were made, was guilty and 'major punishment' has been recommended against him. 

The three-member panel comprising retired judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court, K Kannan, former DGP of Tamil Nadu, Letika Saran, and Dr Shobha Varthaman said it has recommended 'major punishment' and 'considerable recommendations' for reforms in the administrative apparatus of the foundation.

It said that they have recommended the foundation Chairman S Ramadorai to keep the report confidential, except the concluding part of it and the disclosure that will become necessary to the delinquent employee Hari Padman to show cause against the findings of the report and the major punishment recommended by us. The report contains extremely sensitive information, which if revealed, would invade the privacy of individuals, it had stated. 

"The concluding part of the report also contains considerable recommendations for reforms in the administrative setup and tuning the activities of the institution that will assure safety to students, by focusing on promoting Kalakshetra Foundation primarily as an institution of higher learning and not showcase it as an institution of public performers," the press release added. 

As per the powers and responsibilities of the committee, it can also monitor the implementation of any disciplinary action taken and ensure that the complainant and other individuals are protected from retaliation. The details of the inquiry process will also be available for review by the institution's governance members, and state and central government statutory authorities if required. The committee also set up a website to receive complaints and suggestions from students, former students and staff of the institution. 

Levelling allegations of sexual harassment on the campus, a section of students staged a protest in March this year seeking justice. The committee was constituted following the uproar from the students and various women's rights organisations. 

Police arrested on April 3 Assistant Professor (Dance) Hari Padman following a complaint against him from a former student and he was granted bail on June 3 by a court here.

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