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Amid Jadavpur University death row, what are the anti-ragging laws in India

A first-year student of the Jadavpur University in Kolkata died after falling from the first floor of his hostel last week

Jadavpur University

Jadavpur University

BS Web Team New Delhi

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An 18-year-old student died last week after falling from his hostel's second floor at the Jadavpur University campus in Kolkata.

The family of the first-year Honours student has alleged that he was being ragged on campus.

The police have, so far, arrested 12 people, including students and alumni of the university.

What is ragging?

Ragging is defined as an act involving an activity violating a student's dignity. It is mostly done in the name of a fresher's welcome in the college or university.

According to a survey in 2017, about 40 per cent of India's students faced some form of ragging and bullying, of which medical and engineering colleges reported the most.

The cases of ragging peaked in the 90s. During this period, private medical and engineering colleges opened in India, and ragging was rising.

Many cases of student suicides were reported in South India during that period. According to reports, the highest number of cases of ragging was found in 1997 in Tamil Nadu.

Considering the severity of the situation, in 1997, Tamil Nadu became the first state to ban ragging completely.

What are the anti-ragging laws in India?

In 2001, the Supreme Court (SC) banned ragging across India.

However, in 2009, the death of Aman Kachru, a medical college student in Dharamshala, due to ragging, prompted the court to direct all educational institutions across the country to follow the anti-ragging law strictly.

The law against ragging is governed by the Prevention of Ragging Act, 1997, and its amendments.

The Act defines ragging as "any disorderly conduct whether by words spoken or written or by an act which has the effect of teasing, treating, or handling with rudeness a fresher or any other student".

Under the anti-ragging law, if a student is found guilty, he/she can be imprisoned for three years, along with a fine.

Under the law, if a college does not follow the rules or ignores the matter, legal action can be taken against it.

In order to avoid the problem of ragging in the college, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has made rules related to students' behaviour.

According to those rules, if a comment is made on the appearance or dress of the student or if his/her self-respect is hurt, then it will be considered ragging. It will also be an offence if a student is insulted based on his region, language, race, caste, etc.. If any student is forced to do any work, then that will also come under the category of ragging.

Some states in India have their own legislation on ragging, while the central legislations tackling ragging in India are through the Indian Penal Code (Section 294, 323, 324, 325, 326, 339, 340, 341, 342, and 506), and the UGC Regulations on curbing the menace of ragging in higher educational institutions, 2009.

Some government bodies have their own laws on ragging, such as the All India Council For Technical Education (AICTE), and the Medical Council of India have made their own regulations under their respective Acts.

The UGC law against ragging

To curb the menace of ragging, the UGC has introduced the UGC Regulations on Curbing the Menace of Ragging in Higher Educational Institutions, 2009.

Under these regulations, all higher educational institutions have to follow the UGC guidelines mandatorily, and failing to do so will invoke strict action.

The UGC has also set up a toll-free helpline regarding anti-ragging, 1800-180-5522, in which a victim can register his or her complaint in 12 languages.

The law of the All India Council for Technical Education

Under Section 23 and Section 10 of the AICTE Act, 1987, there is an "All India Council for Technical Education (Prevention and Prohibition of Ragging in Technical Institutions, Universities including Deemed to be Universities imparting technical education) Regulations 2009" to prevent ragging.

The laws of the Medical Council of India

The Medical Council of India formulated the 'Medical Council of India (Prevention and Prohibition of Ragging in Medical Colleges/Institutions) Regulations, 2009', which belongs to Section 33 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.

Coalition for Uprooting Ragging from Education (CURE)

The Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURE) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation (NGO) in India working to eliminate ragging in India.

CURE started in July 2001, in Delhi, and has 470 members, mostly students.

In February 2007, CURE gave the SC-appointed Raghavan committee guidelines on how to prevent ragging in Indian universities.

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First Published: Aug 21 2023 | 5:23 PM IST

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