Going by news reports, IIT-B appears to have handled this case in a professional way. It's good to see that the institution has clear procedures and institutional mechanisms in place to deal with charges of sexual harassment. Also noteworthy is the reiteration by the Institute officials of its policy of "zero tolerance" in dealing with this menace.
The institute had first received a formal complaint by the victim against Prof Gupta in March 2009, said the press release. Before this, the case was informally reported to the Student Counsellor attached to Dean of Student Affair’s office in December 2008. After weeks of verifying and ascertaining facts, a suspension order was issued to Prof SK Gupta, who is a senior professor at the Centre for Environmental Science and Engineering.
A panel was formed to probe into case in March 2009. In cases of sexual harassment, the complaint committee of the Women’s Cell initiates an inquiry with just a complaint. “In such cases, the complaint itself is treated as a chargesheet,” the statement reads.
The inquiry was concluded in August 2009 and a report was submitted to the Director of IIT Bombay. A copy of the report was provided to Prof Gupta too.
“We have zero tolerance for such incidents and a probe into the matter was conducted immediately in a systematic way and as per the rules and regulations laid by the institute. During the proceedings of the panel, Prof Gupta was given an opportunity to cross examine the victim and other witnesses. All procedures laid down for the conduct of the inquiry were scrupulously followed,” a senior official from IIT-B said.
Thus, while the investigation itself appears to have been concluded in under five months after the charge was made, there has been a huge delay in getting the guilty verdict ratified by various administrative entities.
In another report yesterday, we find this:
Gupta, however, said norms were violated during the probe. “I was not even given a chargesheet,” he said. The IIT-Bombay administrator said the probe was conducted according to procedures laid down by the institute.