Teacher sexually harassed: Enquiry report submitted, but still gathering dust
Eight days after fact-finding committee report was submitted to education department, deputy director hasn't looked at it
After dragging its feet for seven months, a three-member committee set up by the deputy director of education’s (Pune division) office to probe sexual harassment allegations made by a teacher has finally submitted its report. But, eight days after it was submitted, the report is still gathering dust at the deputy director’s desk.
Bad schooling: Last year in July, authorities at Rambhau Mhalgi School in Kadus in Khed taluka, abruptly terminated the services of a lady teacher after she complained of sexual harassment by some people at the school
Last year in July, authorities at Rambhau Mhalgi Secondary and Higher Secondary School in Kadus, Khed taluka, abruptly terminated the services of a lady teacher after she complained of sexual harassment by some people at the school. Later, an inquiry committee was established in November to investigate the allegations.
After deliberating for seven months, the three-member inquiry committee submitted its findings to the Deputy Director Suman Shinde. But Shinde, who said she is tied up with other priorities, has not yet laid an eye on the report.
“The committee submitted the report to my office last week. But, since I am busy with the 11th standard centralised admission procedure, I haven’t seen the report. It will take another week to decide the future course of action,” said Shinde.
When asked what line of action would be initiated against the school and employees, if found guilty in the inquiry, Shinde said, “It all depends on what the committee members have concluded in their report.”
“Even if our committee has found anyone guilty, the deputy director’s office has no direct authority to take action against any private institution. That’s why we will ask the concerned institute to take action against the accused,” she said.
MiD DAY had reported on the incident in an article (‘Teacher sacked after complaining about sexual harassment,’ July 6, 2012), highlighting how after repetitively facing harassment, the teacher lodged a police complaint and also approached the education department with her grievances.
In her complaint to the deputy director of education, the teacher alleged that some staff and members of the school management had put up objectionable content about her on the internet.
When queried why it took so long to complete the inquiry in such a sensitive case, Shinde said, “I took charge in November 2012. Before that, for more than six months, no one initiated any action in the matter. But, I immediately appointed a committee and started the inquiry. Within the next eight days, a clear picture will emerge.”
Anjali Pawar, an activist with NGO Sakhi, who is helping the victim since the beginning, said, “The harassment occurred in January 2012. So, it’s already one-and-half-year and now if the inquiry is concluded, the education department should immediately take action against the culprits.”