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The Legal Affair

Let's talk Law

The Legal Affair

Let's talk Law

Anti-Ragging Laws in India

Anti-Ragging Laws in India

A group of senior MBBS students at the MGM Medical College in Indore have recently been charged with ragging. It is alleged that the seniors forced the juniors to perform vulgar and abusive acts, as well as forced the juniors to make lewd and derogatory comments towards their female batchmates. The UGC upon receiving the complaint contacted the college and sought action, after which the college’s anti-ragging committee filed an FIR against all the accused. The complaint to the UGC alleged that some professors upon being approached with the students’ complaints and requests to discourage ragging, did nothing to curtail the incident and in fact showed support for the barbaric tradition still very prevalent across educational institutes of the country, despite several strict laws and regulations. The students have alleged their mobile phones were snatched by the seniors and they were forced to do sit-ups, and slap each other as hard as they could so the sound was “loud and clear”. The students have requested that their identities not be revealed for fear that their seniors would exact revenge upon them.

Ragging or bullying is seen as a crime and is a punishable offence under various institutional and state laws India. Section 26(1)(g) of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, provides the University Grants Commission (UGC) the authority to establish regulations for the maintenance of standards and the co-ordination of work or facilities in Universities. Firm directives have been provided by the UGC to Indian Institutes to establish strict anti-ragging policies. The UGC Guidelines extend to all institutions and their premises, whether located in the campus or outside and also in means of transportation whether public or private:

  • Under the Central/provincial/state act,
  • Deemed university under the UGC Act, 1956 and
  • All other educational institutions

The definition of what constitutes ragging as per the regulations of University Grants Commission for curbing the menace of ragging from Higher Education Institutions, 2009, is as follows:

  • Any disorderly conduct by either by acts or words spoken, the effect of which is teasing, treating or handling with rudeness any other student.
  • Any rowdy or undisciplined activity, which causes annoyance, hardship or psychological harm; Raise fear or apprehension thereof in the minds of junior
  • Asking the students to do an act or perform something, which such student will not do in ordinary course, which has the effect of causing shame or embarrassment so as to adversely affect the physique or psyche of a junior student

After the amendment to the regulations, published on June 26, 2016, the definition was extended to include inflicting mental duress based on discrimination, to the definition,

  • Any act of physical or mental abuse (including bullying and exclusion) targeted at another student (fresher or otherwise) on the ground of colour, race, religion, caste, ethnicity, gender (including transgender), sexual orientation, appearance, nationality, regional origins, linguistic identity, place of birth, place of residence or economic background.

Under the UGC’s regulations the following acts have been deemed as ingredients to ragging:

  • Abetment to ragging
  • Criminal conspiracy to rag
  • Unlawful assembly and rioting while ragging
  • Violation of decency and morals through ragging
  • Injury to body causing hurt or grievous hurt
  • Wrongful restraint
  • Wrongful confinement
  • Use of criminal force
  • Extortion
  • Assault/sexual offences/Unnatural offences
  • Criminal intimidation
  • Offences against property
  • Attempt to commit any or above of the offences
  • Any offence flowing from the definition of ragging

Read the UGCs regulations for curbing the menace of ragging from Higher Education Institutions, 2009, here.

The safety of students from incidents of ragging is regulated by the UGC, however, the Indian news feed continues to be replete with incidents of ragging. There are no laws that directly deal with ragging or provide directives to the judiciary as to what punishments must be awarded for ragging. Victims or aggrieved parties can however seek respite under the purview of the Indian Penal Code and register an FIR in relation with incidents of ragging that fall under other relevant sections of IPC.

Sections of the IPC under which students can file FIR for non-violent incidents of ragging:

  • Section 294. Obscene acts and songs
  • Section 339. Wrongful restraint
  • Section 340. Wrongful confinement
  • Section 341. Punishment for wrongful restraint
  • Section 342. Punishment for wrongful confinement
  • Section 506. Punishment for criminal intimidation

In cases of extreme ragging that includes violence, an FIR can be pursued for the following sections of the IPC:

  • Section 323. Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt
  • Section 324. Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means
  • Section 325. Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt
  • Section 326. Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means

In case a ragging victim has lost his/her life, the following sections of the IPC may be applicable:

  • Section 304. Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder
  • Section 306. Abetment of suicide
  • Section 307. Attempt to murder.

If you are being subjected to ragging or know of someone suffering from bullying or ragging reach out to the 24×7 toll-free National Anti-Ragging helpline at 1800-180-5522.