NLIU Bhopal: Law teachers turn predators?

The fear of academic repercussions and the lack of grievance mechanism make it impossible for students to get justice for repeated incidents of sexual harassment on campus.

WrittenBy:Meenakshi Kumar
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The National Law Institute University (NLIU), Bhopal, which is one of the premier institutes for legal education in India, saw a seven-day protest in November demanding the resignation of its director SS Singh for making casteist and sexist remarks.


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Though it comes under the University Grants Commission, the NLIU doesn’t have the statutory Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to address sexual harassment complaints of students. The protesting students demanded that the NLIU implement and institute ICC.

The students went on the warpath when Singh called a woman student to his cabin along with three other male faculty and told the student, “Tum jaise ladkiyan apne izzat aur sharam bechke yahaan aati hai (You are the type of girl who comes here selling your dignity and shame)”. In addition to this, the student was made to sign an undertaking that she would “dress decently” henceforth.

Although this particular instance triggered a large movement on campus, such incidents have been happening in the university for the past several years. Also, it has led to the creation of a vicious and hostile environment where the entire misogynistic administration worked against the students. Sexist and callous behaviour by the head of the institution helped providing a more conducive environment for the faculty members to indulge in similar behaviour.

Late last year, when a student went to a professor to submit her presentation, he is said to have remarked, You smell nice, where did you buy this product from?” When the student asked if he had any questions on the presentation, the professor refused to accept the project. Another professor kept staring at a student’s breast even after the student warned him, he refused to look up until he was dragged away by a senior faculty. These professors still teach in the university and the one who had stared continues to objectify women in his classes. The fear of academic costs make it impossible for students to come forward in spite of repeated sexual harassment and the lack of any grievance mechanism is another thing altogether.

It was after few days of the said incident (sexist comment by the Director) that we got to know about the existence of “women’s grievance redressal committee” in college. It was nowhere on the university website in which a section has dedicated to the information about all cells, neither have we come across notices or notifications about it. When the student went and spoke to the hostel warden, it came as a great revelation to the whole university. This “committee”, however, does not meet the UGC guidelines as there are no non-teaching employees, elected students or a member of an NGO as part of the committee. In a place where students are imparted legal knowledge, the head of the institute is complicit in flouting the law.

During the latest protest, students voiced their complaints against the Director, faculty members and the administration. The most common grievance was that of unwanted sexual remarks passed by several faculty members on clothing, the number of male friends a student had or just uncomfortable questions and blatant staring. What does it say about the future of women in the country when one of the premier law institutes not only allows but perpetrates a cycle of inequality and sexism? When women students are made to feel uncomfortable and are belittled constantly for their clothing choices.

However, this is not a problem peculiar to NLIU. The recent Raya Sarkar list of sexual predators is proof that sexual harassment on campus is a widespread issue across India. Educational institutions must note of it and establish Internal Complaints Committee as per UGC guidelines

If you’re a student, professor or an alumnus and want to write/share how your college deals with sexual harassment, the systems to check it or the lack thereof, email us at


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