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The Delhi High Court on Monday (August 27) dismissed a PIL challenging the constitution of Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) formed by the Executive Committee of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) which includes the Vice Chancellor and Rector of the university against whom the petitioner had made a complaint of sexual harassment under the Section 4 of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

The court said: “It is difficult to accept that there is any likelihood of bias against the petitioner. There is no allegation that any of the members of the ICC have any pecuniary or personnel interest in the matter (except the Chairperson of the ICC). Indisputably, the presiding officer of the ICC (Chief Proctor, Vibha Tandon) is a witness to the incident and, therefore, would be disqualified from acting as a member of the ICC in case of the petitioner.

“This court is informed that she already recused and would not be participating in any meeting of the ICC or the enquiry relating to the petitioner. She is also not a part of the Inquiry Committee which has been constituted. There is, thus, no material on record which would even remotely lead to any suspicion that the members of the Inquiry Committee so constituted have any personal interest that would conflict in their obligation to conduct an enquiry fairly and make a fair recommendation. The mere fact that the ICC was constituted by the Executive Council of the University that included two members were accused, is clearly insufficient to doubt the integrity or ability of the ICC to render an unbiased opinion.”

—India Legal Bureau

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