Sexual Harassment of Students by Teachers Abuse of Position of Power: Delhi HC

Sexual harassment of students by teachers is an abuse of a position of power and a serious offence that has become “widespread”, the Delhi High Court has said.

The court said the relationship between a student and a teacher is one of the most pious relationships and parents send their children away from home in the hope that they would be in a safe and conducive environment under the guidance of their teachers.

“However, the act of sexual harassment by teachers has witnessed a widespread occurrence which is a serious offence and abuse of a position of power,” said Justice Chandra Dhari Singh in a recent order.

“A teacher is not only a person who teaches in a classroom but one who encourages and inspires the students to become a holistic person. Teachers are gifted with the power to impart wisdom and shape the minds of children who are the future, and it is imperative that such power is not misused,” the judge added.

The court also said the relationship between students and teachers dates back to the vedas and it “runs through every epic that has overcome evil”.

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The court’s observations came on a petition by a former Delhi University professor who was compulsorily retired following allegations of sexual harassment.

Before the high court, the petitioner challenged the varsity’s move to recover certain “overpaid amount” to him against the background of the Internal Complaints Committee recommending his compulsory retirement to the governing body, which was subsequently approved.

Justice Singh ruled the overpaid amount cannot be recovered from the petitioner since they were paid to him prior to his suspension being approved by the vice-chancellor.

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