The court didn't let Delhi University refer the matter back to its probe panel (Representational)
A 75-year-old former Delhi University has been absolved of a sexual harassment charge 16 years after it was filed against him by two researchers. The professor, who was 60 years old when the case was filed against him, was suspended by Delhi University in March 2002, two years before he was to retire.
The Delhi High Court, however, set aside the university's move to suspend the professor and told the authorities to give all arrears and retirement benefits within three months to its former head of the Sanskrit department, whose name was not made public citing privacy concerns.
Justice V Kameswar Rao said the professor will not get any arrears for a two-year period which he did not serve, though it will be considered as "time spent on duty". The court did not allow the university to refer the matter back to its probe panel, as sought by the university.
"This court is of the view that the age of the petitioner, who is said to be of 75 years, and the researchers also have equally aged... fresh enquiry from the stage of framing of charges and allowing cross-examination of the witnesses would be an embarrassment for the parties at this stage of their life," Justice Rao said.
"It shall be appropriate, if the matter is put at rest, but with limited relief to the petitioner," the court said. "During the time when the enquiry was conducted by the enquiry committee, there were no rules framed by the university for enquiring into allegations of sexual harassment".
The professor had moved court against the university's order and alleged the probe panel formed by the vice chancellor was flawed in its investigation into the matter. He told the court neither a chargesheet was filed against him nor he was asked to explain the charges.