In a plea by women students of Jawahar Lal Nehru University urging early hearing on a contempt petition against the varsity, Delhi High Court on Monday sought response by the university. These students had also made sexual harassment allegations against Professor Atul Johri in 2018.  Justice J.R. Midha also issued notices to JNU’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Atul Johri and Delhi Police on the plea by the students. It additionally called for records of the main case and posted the matter for hearing on July 2.

The plea sought contempt proceedings and also requested that the resolution passed in the Executive Council’s (EC) meeting be stayed.

Earlier in January, the Internal Complaints Committee of JNU had given clean chit to Johri in the sexual harassment case. After this, the students had even then filed a plea with another bench of HC to which the HC had sought a response of the university on the plea.

The contempt petition, filed by the women students against JNU, its Vice-Chancellor, and the professor, alleges that they have “willfully” disobeyed the directions of the HC that it gave its orders of May 2 and May 29, 2018.

Their plea said the HC had directed that Prof Johri shall have no access to a particular laboratory and the authorities shall give complete access of the laboratory and separate keys to the students. The petition said they have learnt that on the request of Prof Johri, the executive council (EC) of JNU, in February, has allowed him access to the particular laboratory in the School of Life Sciences and delegated teaching responsibilities back to him.

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In a plea by women students of Jawahar Lal Nehru University urging early hearing on a contempt petition against the varsity, Delhi High Court on Monday sought response by the university.

“Once Johri comes and tries to enter the building, we will not stop him. But if he is inside the building, the students won’t be there. This is what the students decided in the general body meeting. Now the administration has to take a call if they want to be with the students or Johri,” Preeti Umarao, a PhD scholar at SLS and a member of the student-faculty committee had told HT in February.

While JNU registrar Pramod Kumar said, “Students should not boycott the classes when Prof Johri has already been cleared by the ICC and the petition has been disposed of by the high court.”

Advocate Vrinda Grover who is the counsel for JNU students told The Hindu that the case needed to be heard urgently as the students will not be able to complete their Ph.D. if not given access to the laboratory.

Picture Credit: Twitter

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