Sexual harassment in University: PHC directs VC to appear personally

Humayun Khan
PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court (PHC) has observed that it is time to take stern action against sexual harassers in educational institutions while presences of black sheep will further increase such incidents while varsity’s high-ups did not take concrete steps in this regard and added that there are reports that colleagues stands in support of faculty member to protect from legal penalty, on Thursday.
PHC’s divisional comprising of Justice Rooh-ul-Amin and Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim heard writ petition filed by Essa Khan Advocate against sexual harassment of female students by faculty members.
During hearing Justice Rooh-ul-Amin remarked that problem is created by provision of internal marks which has empowered black sheep target female students by threatening to blow their academic carrier while added that supporting black sheep in faculty is not right by colleagues.
Additional Advocate General Sofia Noreen on behalf of provincial government while Zartaj Anwar Advocate was appeared on behalf of Islamia College University (ICU) Peshawar, however, Justice Rooh-ul-Amin enquired regarding implementation of court’s order and steps taken against harassement in the institute from ICU’s counsel.
The counsel for ICU informed that awareness sessions have been organized in this regard while Justice Rooh-ul-Amin observed that they are not children but varsity’s students and can differentiate between right and wrong. He further added that action against black sheep is need of the hour while remarked that he has information that faculty members blackmailing toppers on provision of marks to use it as tool for immoral demands.
Moreover, Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim remarked that such incidents are damages educational institutions and added that earlier student’s organization shall be headed by cream students of the varsities which is disintegrated after ban, however, everything good and bad aspects but it is necessary to protect students from harassment.
He added that teachers of global reputation are also educating youth in their respective disciplines while added that whole community should not be blackmailed over the acts of individual black sheep.
However, Essa Khan Advocate argued that several grievances were elevated while neither administration nor university takes any actions and added Chairman Department of Political Science at ICU has reappointed despite found guilty in sexual harassment. ICU’s counsel Zartaj Anwar informed that Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has suspended the decision as Chancellor while Syndicate has no available remedy to obtain in the case.
Justice Rooh-ul-Amin observed that one exemplary penalty is enough to ensure deterrence against harassers and unfortunately all colleagues come out to protect one black sheep which are equally guilty while inquired for recommendation on curtaining harassment in the educational institutions.
The counsel for ICU informed that issue has placed before Syndicate while Essa Khan Advocate argued that neither enquiry was conducted nor any action taken on court’s orders and added that Female Ombudsperson on Sexual harassment in favor of applicant while challenged Governor’s decision at PHC which is fixed on 29th September for next hearing. PHC’s divisional comprising of Justice Rooh-ul-Amin and Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim ordered Vice Chancellor ICU to appear before court personally while adjourned till 29th September.