Rough justice, sharp practice

Naming and shaming

Recently, a girl from Dyal Singh college, Delhi University was named for stealing a mobile phone. The disciplinary committee not only made the name public on the website, but also, on the college notice board apart from giving the girl a show cause notice.

This makes us think, was her crime so heinous that the college staff didn’t think twice in following the trend of naming and shaming? What could have been the mental status of the girl after such an act?

“There should be no objection to making public of the student’s name as other students will refrain from indulging in such activities in fear of action,” says college staff proudly. Maybe they are right. Students will refrain from indulging in any such activity in future, but at what price? And if, the girl takes this too seriously, she might as well take a wrong step and try to end her life.

“Personally I feel that whenever identification is done, the crime becomes the person.  He/she is identified only by that incident, leaving them no scope to become better or try and overcome their urges to do better. So I think that the naming and shaming limits an individual from becoming a fully functioning person,” says Natasha Kular, a psychology graduate from IP college, Delhi University.

This trend of naming and shaming isn’t new. In the past  incidents like that of Jasleen Kaur – a girl from St Stephen’s college, who accused a guy named Sarvjeet of harassing her and posted the photos along with his name on social media and asked people to share it; or that of Jack Whitehouse - a teenager in Australia who murdered his father, seem to be a just and fair option.  But when such a thing is done to a college girl, we’re forced to question this trend. Hasn’t college committee gone too far to teach a young girl a lesson? A lesson that could have been taught even without making the name public; a lesson that could have been taught by calling her parents and discussing the issue with them. Isn’t expecting the deterrent effects of this system on other students through naming and shaming of that girl wrong with her? 

“Basically if you name someone, it forms an image of that person. It’s an image that they think they have. It obviously leads to low self-esteem. Deviation and questioning the self concept,” says Sanya Tyagi, a psychology major from university of Delhi.

Naming someone makes the person think of an image that, according to them, has been formed in people’s minds. This leads to multiple actions depending upon how mentally strong or weak the person is. He/she may choose to get over it or let it ruin him/her. “It is very discouraging, regardless of the situation being real or just in their head,” adds Tyagi.

A country where people think twice before naming a rape victim, just to make sure that it doesn’t affect victim’s mental state, a college disciplinary committee decides to name a girl for stealing a mobile phone without giving her mental status a second thought. This just does not make any sense.

“The girl should have been given a chance to speak for herself. Her parents could have been called or she should have been suspended for a week or two, but making the name public on the website and the notice board doesn’t seem a fair option,” says Akshit Jakhmola, who graduated from Dyal Singh College last year.

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