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TISS panel finds professor guilty of sexually harassing ex-student, asks him to respond in two weeks

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) raked up a controversy on Thursday after an internal inquiry committee of the institute found a senior professor guilty of sexual harassment based on allegations made by a former student.

With the TISS panel recommending the removal of the professor within a month, a show-cause notice was also sent to the professor asking him to respond in two weeks, The Times of India reported.

 TISS panel finds professor guilty of sexually harassing ex-student, asks him to respond in two weeks

Representational image. Facebook/@TISSMumbai

According to an official close to the inquiry committee, the director of the institute Shalini Bharat has accepted the panel’s recommendation but, the institute is yet to make the details of the panel's findings public.

Hindustan Times quoted the official as saying, "The inquiry committee interviewed the student and several other students and professors who were at the institute in the period mentioned by her. This is why the process took this long. Based on the report, a legal notice was sent to the professor and we are waiting for his response."

In October 2018, the complainant, who studied MA course in personnel management and industrial relations at TISS during the period of 2004-2006, took to social media to narrate various incidents of sexual misconduct by the professor.

In her post, she accused the professor — then her academic advisor — of abusing his power and sexually harassing her during the last few months of the course.

Upon receiving news of the internal committee decision, the complainant put up a Facebook post that read, "The final decision is still pending with the institute, but I’m grateful for this recommendation from the ICC. This feels like justice... A friend said that I won a battle. I think I did. Not against TISS or even the perpetrator, but mostly against my guilt. I also want to acknowledge that a few privileges enabled me to file this complaint. I do not live in India and am no longer active in the HR field. But it need not be this way. Students deserve better."

The TISS students' union, in a statement released to the media, said, "We would like to welcome the recommendations of the ICC and commend its role for thoroughly conducting the inquiry process and ensuring an impartial treatment of the case. We reaffirm our support to the complainant and commit ourselves to ensuring that justice is delivered to them through implementation of the recommendations. We emphasise that the report of the ICC should form the basis of all further action, and any attempt at delaying action shall go against the principle of justice. We hope and insist that the aforesaid recommendations of the ICC are adopted by the Director without any further delay, and that they are implemented in totality."

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Updated Date: Mar 28, 2019 22:33:50 IST