JNU clears student leader of sexual abuse

JNU clears student leader of sexual abuse

Former JNU Students’ Union president Akbar Chaudhary, who had stepped down from the post two years ago following charges of sexual harassment, has been cleared of the charges by the authorities.

“The Executive Council resolved to accept the report of the Appeals Committee that this is a case of breach of mutual trust rather than of sexual harassment.... Therefore, the punishment stands null and void,” an official order issued by the university said.

A female student had accused Chaudhary and then JNUSU Joint Secretary Sarfaraz Hamid of sexual harassment in 2014. She had filed a complaint before the varsity’s Gender Sensitisation Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) which deals with complaints of this nature.

Both Hamid and Chaudhary had stepped down from their posts and said they took the decision in order to allow a fair inquiry. GSCASH had found Chaudhary and Hamid guilty of “slandering and character blaming of the girl student” and the university had then suspended their hostel facility for one semester.

While Akbar chose to file an appeal challenging the decision, Hamid did not make any such attempt. The university had then set up a three-member Appeals Committee to look into the matter.

The committee stated in its report that the sexual harassment charge doesn’t hold ground in the case and Chaudhary be exonerated of the charges. The report was accepted by the Executive Council (EC), the supreme decision making body of the varsity, in January this year and an official order was issued later in this regard. Chaudhary, when contacted, refused to comment on the issue.