Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, with most educational institutions functioning through online classes, around 300 ragging cases were reported to the University Grants Commission (UGC) helpline since June 2020. Around 50% of the complaints involve online harassment.
Is ragging prohibited in Indian educational institutions?
Yes. Ragging is prohibited under the UGC Regulations on Curbing the Menace of Ragging In Higher Educational Institutions, 2009. This prohibits ragging in all educational institutions of higher studies recognized by the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, institutions declared by the Central Government, and any other institution of higher studies.
What kind of behaviour is considered ragging?
Ragging is any physical, verbal, or mental abuse committed by one student against another student belonging to an educational institute of higher studies. The seniority of the student who rags or is ragged does not matter (it can be a senior or a fresher). Ragging is prohibited in:
- All departments in an educational institution,
- Within or outside the campus premises, including any transportation used by its students.
Ragging can take many different forms, such as:
- Causing psychological harm – For example, any act that affects the mental health and self-confidence of a student like making a student dance in front of the class and ridiculing them for it.
- Disturbing academic activity – For example, a senior student harassing a junior student and not allowing them to attend classes.
- Using or exploiting a student – For example, financial extortion like making a student pay for another student’s expenses.
- Physical abuse – For example, sexual abuse like asking a female student to remove her clothes.
- Discrimination – For example, constantly teasing and insulting a student based on their regional origin.
What is the punishment for ragging?
If any student is caught ragging another student, they can be punished. The punishment can be in the form of:
- a) Administrative Punishments
If a student is caught ragging, the college can punish them by:
- Suspension from attending classes and academic privileges.
- Withholding/withdrawing scholarship/fellowship and other benefits.
- Debarring them from appearing in any test/examination.
- Withholding results.
- Debarring them from representing the college in any regional, national or international meet, tournament, youth festival, etc.
- Suspension/expulsion from the hostel.
- Cancellation of admission.
- Rustication from the college for a period ranging from one to four semesters.
- Expulsion from the college and consequent debarring from admission to any other college for a specified period.
- b) Police Complaint
In more serious cases of ragging, if an FIR or police complaint is filed, the student may be punished under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) with jail time, fine etc. If the person accused is a minor (below 18 years), they will be dealt with under the special juvenile justice law.
How can you make a ragging complaint?
You can take your complaint to any of the following:
- The college’s Anti-Ragging Committee, Anti-Ragging Squad, Mentoring Cell or Monitoring Cell on Ragging.
- National Anti-Ragging Helpline – The helpline number is 1800 – 180 – 5522, and the email address is email@example.com.
- Lodge an online complaint on https://www.antiragging.in/. You can also track your complaint here.
- Police, in case of serious ragging crimes such as sexual abuse, blackmail, etc.