Chennai

Sexual harassment case: HC refuses to interfere in show-cause notice to Madras Christian College staff

Observing that Christian missionaries face accusations of indulging in forcible religious conversions, the Madras High Court said, “there was a general feeling” among parents, especially of girl children, that co-educational Christian institutions were highly unsafe for the future of their children.

Dismissing a case filed by a Madras Christian College (MCC) faculty accused of sexually harassing some girls during a study tour to Karnataka in January, Justice S. Vaidyanathan said, most parents were of the view that though Christian institutions impart good education, “the preach of morality will be a million dollar question.”

He made the remarks in the judgment after dealing with the writ petition on merits and refusing to interfere with a show-cause notice issued by the college management to the petitioner on the basis of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) report that a prima facie case had been made out against him on a complaint lodged by 34 students. Naming one of the girl students who had deposed before the ICC and provided a vivid account of the events that unfolded during the study tour, the judge suggested that she be provided appropriate counselling. He blamed the college for having deputed only two female teachers and five male teachers to accompany the students during the tour.

After concluding his verdict, the judge said: “Before parting with the judgment, this court feels it appropriate to point out that Christian missionaries are always on the source of attack in one way or the other and in the present era, there are several accusations against them for indulging in compulsory conversion of people from other religions.

“As long as a religion is practised in streets in lieu of its worship places such devastation, as in the present case, does (sic) occur and will be mushrooming.” The judge went on to state he does not want to probe further and find out whether the petitioner was really at fault or was he a victim of a false complaint.

Stating that several women centric enactments had been misused to teach a lesson to men in strained relationships, the judge said, “This is the right time for to think of suitable amendments in those laws in order to safeguard the interest of the innocent,” and directed the High Court Registry to mark a copy of his judgment to the Union Ministry of Law and Justice.

Article source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/hc-refuses-to-interfere-in-show-cause-notice-to-mcc-staff-college-took-the-step-against-teacher-after-34-students-levelled-charges-of-harassment/article29114275.ece

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