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‘Institution heads can be booked for inaction under ragging Act’

The Andhra Pradesh Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1997 not only brings the perpetrators to justice but also the heads of the institutions for their proved inaction over a complaint, senior civil judge S. Damodara Rao has said.

Speaking at a programme on ‘anti-ragging awareness’ organised by Andhra University here on Wednesday, Mr. Damodara Rao, who is also the Secretary of District Legal Services Authority (DLSA), said once a complaint was filed by a victim with the anti-ragging committee, the head of the institution and the authorities concerned would be booked under the Act for abetment if no action was taken within 24 hours.

CCTV surveillance

Highlighting the need of all colleges and universities having anti-ragging panels, he said it was mandatory to have the phone numbers of the panel members and police officers displayed prominently in notice boards and newsletters. He also suggested that hostels and canteens should be brought under CCTV surveillance to ensure better monitoring.

Referring to the purview of anti-ragging committees, Mr. Damodara Rao said, “The jurisdiction of the panel is not confined to the campus only. It can take action if ragging is committed outside the premises too,” he said.

Stringent punishment

Addressing the students, ACP (East) Annepu Narasimha Murthy said conviction in ragging can attract jail ranging from six months to 10 years. “For teasing, embarrassing and humiliation, the punishment includes six-month jail with a fine of Rs. 1,000, while the same for assaulting, using criminal force or intimidation is one-year imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 2,000. Wrongful restraining, confining or causing hurt can attract two-year jail and a fine of Rs. 5,000,” he said.

According to him, the imprisonment can go up to five years in cases of causing grievous hurt, kidnapping or rape or unnatural offence with a fine of Rs. 10,000 and for causing death or abetting suicide, the imprisonment is 10 years with a fine of Rs. 50,000.

Mechanism in place

Vice-Chancellor G. Nageswara Rao said Andhra University had been maintaining the status of being a ‘ragging-free’ campus for the past many years.

“Apart from a district level panel headed by District Collector, we have committees instituted for the university, colleges, departments and hostels. The head of every panel is empowered to take action. If the victim is not satisfied with the action, he or she can directly approach the university panel headed by the V-C,” he said.

Later, HRD Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao released a poster on ‘anti ragging campaign’ with a toll-free number 1800-425-0891.

AU Registrar K. Niranjan, Rector K. Gayatri Devi and others also spoke on the occasion.

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