Supreme Court to take tough action against ragging

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  • Vice chancellors and Police Chief directed to submit reports on ragging incidents during the past three years

By Ranjith Padmasiri

the Supreme Court has directed universities and the Inspector General of Police to submit separate reports on incidents of ragging and investigations into reported cases in the past three years.

The directive was given during the hearing of a petition filed by a
Sri Jayawardenepura University (Management Faculty) student who suffered near-fatal injuries during a party organised for first-year students on March 5, 2020, after a large backhoe tyre was rolled down a flight of stairs.

The petition was taken up before a bench comprising justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Shiran Gooneratne and Priyantha Fernando on Friday.

The student, Pasindu Harshana Silva, suffered severe physical injuries including damages to his head, skull, and brain trauma. He was hospitalised for three months and has not recovered fully so far.

The student’s sister, Shermila Priyadharshani Silva, and the student have filed a Fundamental Rights petition citing the University Grants Commission, UGC Chairman Prof Sampath Amaratunga and Sri Jayawardenepura University Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Sudantha Liyanage as respondents.

However, the Court taking into consideration the issues involved said the scope of the application should be expanded so that effective remedies could be considered and appropriate orders made.

The Court noted that ragging had been identified as a factor that causes adverse consequences in university education with physical, physiological and behavioural effects, in addition to an increase in dropouts.

Accordingly, the Court directed vice-chancellors of all 16 state universities under the UGC and the Police Chief to be added as respondents in the case.

The Court also ruled that the Minister of Higher Education be made a respondent considering that the Minister had powers to issue directives on national policy.

The vice chancellors were directed to submit a report within eight weeks of measures that have been put in place in their universities to curtail ragging, complaints received in the last year (regarding ragging) and steps taken regarding the incidents.

The IGP was directed to submit a report on all investigations of ragging within eight weeks.

All parties wishing to intervene will also be given time to make representations before August 28.

The next hearing was fixed for August 29.

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