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Court summons ICU vice-chancellor over `harassment` of students

Bureau Report 2022-09-16
PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday summoned the vice-chancellorofPeshawar`sIslamiaCollegeUniversity to explain position on the alleged harassment of female students on campus.

A bench consisting of Justice Roohul Amin Khan and Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim hxed Sept 29 for further hearing into a petition file d by senior lawyer Mohammad Essa Khan seeking its directives for the university to check`harassment` of female students by teachers.

It also ordered the clubbing of the petition with another filed by a female student against the provincial governor`s order to award a `minor penalty` to ateacher for harassing her after setting aside the major penalty of removal from service by the anti-harassment ombudsperson.

Mr Essa contended that harassment cases were frequently reported in the university but the administration didn`t take preventive measures against them.

Justice Roohul Amin Khan observed that the `black sheep` among teachers, who had become a source of defamation for the entire community by harassing female students, should be expelled.

He adde d that unfortunately, whenever a teacher was accused of sexual harassment, his colleagues came forward in his support instead of demanding his punishment.

The bench observed that internal markings of papers by teachers in a university had been contributing to high incidence of student harassment as the culprits misused powers to blackmail their victims.

Lawyer Zartaj Anwar appeared for the ICU, whereas assistant advocate generalSophia Noreen represented the provincial government.

The bench asked the ICU`s counsel about the steps taken by the university to implement the court`s orders to check sexual harassment on campus.

Ms Zartaj said the university organsied sessions for the students` awareness of harassment.

The bench observed that university and college students were grownups and had a goodunderstandingofsuchissues.

It added that the important thing was to award exemplary punishment to those involved in such immoral activities.

Justice Roohul Amin observed the court knew that some teachers blackmailed brilliant female students warning them of low grades for not meeting `illegal demands`.

He added that had the universities made an example of student harassers, the incidence of such incidents would have come down.Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim observed that the Islamia College University had some brilliant teachers but bad activities by a few members brought a bad name to the entire community.

Mr Essa said that a teacher of the university`s Department of Political Science was restored to his position by the administration though he was found guilty of harassing female students on campus.

Lawyer Zartaj said that the orders of the provincial anti-harassment ombudsperson for the removal of that harasser from service were set aside by the provincial governor, so the university`s syndicate had no option but to reinstate him.

The court was informed that the female students, who were subjected to sexual harassment, had also challenged the order of the governor in the high court, which would hear the case on Sept 29.

The bench decided to club the two petitions and adjourned hearing into them until Sept 29.