Kochi: The boys/ men must understand that they must not touch a girl / a woman without her explicit consent, said Kerala High Court. No means ‘No!’, said Justice Devan Ramachandran, adding that it is high time we thought deeply about what is to be done, noting the rise in instances of sexual harassment against students in Colleges and schools.
The Court was considering a petition from an Engineering College student from Kollam district challenging the order of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and the College Principal against him, accusing him of misbehaviour towards female students on the campus. The petitioner was held guilty by the ICC after an enquiry.
The Court stated that lessons of good behaviour and etiquette must be part of the curriculum and directed to serve a copy of the judgement to the Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala, Secretary General Education Department and Secretary Higher Education Department and education boards like CBSE, ICSE etc.
The Court further observed the University Grants Commission (UGC) has a role to play and regulations relating to such issues must be effectively implemented. The Court recorded the UGC’s standing counsel’s submission that the UGC would take the necessary steps.
The Government has been directed to submit a report detailing the necessary decisions and actions taken on the Court’s observations. The case will be considered again on February 3.
The ICC which had conducted an enquiry against the petitioner had found him guilty. Following this, the College Principal took disciplinary action against him. The petitioner moved the Court claiming that he was not heard before taking action against him.
The Court, after hearing the contentions, directed to constitute the statutory Collegiate Student Redressal Committee within two weeks and to take a final decision after hearing both parties within a month.