PhD thesis of sexual harassment victim accepted

PhD thesis of sexual harassment victim accepted

The University of Mysore (UoM) has accepted the thesis for PhD degree by Sarita M, a victim of sexual harassment.

The case had created flutters in academic circles in 2011 when Sarita’s then guide and HoD, Zoology, Shivabasavaiah (later replaced by Bhagya), was accused of seeking sexual favours.

Sarita has successfully submitted her thesis on “Anti-fertility activity of eugenia jambolana lam seed extract in female albino rat”. Sarita undertook her research under the guidance of S M Bhagya. The PhD will be awarded in the next convocation ceremony.

The issue came to light when Sarita attempted suicide. The university’s women’s harassment complaints committee, which was entrusted with the task of investigating the case, eventually held Shivabasavaiah guilty, leading to his suspension and arrest.

In the later developments, Shivabasavaiah was transferred to Kuvempu University, Shimoga, only to incite the students there. The UoM later revoked the order and transferred him as administrator of its satellite centre in Chamarajanagar.

The then vice-chancellor, V G Talawar, had moved the high court seeking quashing of FIR naming him as the co-accused, but was rejected later. The court directed the police to complete the probe at the earliest. 

Though the ACP (N R sub-division) was appointed investigation officer, he was later replaced by a higher officer, DCP (crime and traffic), following allegations of tardy investigation by Sarita’s husband, D R Vijaykumar, the petitioner in the case.

Prior to this, Sarita had petitioned Governor H R Bhardwaj, besides Director-General and Inspector-General of Police, State Human Rights Commission and also the National Human Rights Commission.

Though DCP M M Mahadevaiah succeeded K P Bheemaiah, whom the then police commissioner K L Sudheer had asked to vet into the case further, the city police are yet to complete the probe.

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