JNU hires lawyer to defend its teachers against harassment case
A case was filed in 2011 against two teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act accusing them of harassing a student. In the case, JNU administration was also made a respondent along with the teachers though the teachers were charged as individual respondents. However, the reply to an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has shown that the university has already spent over Rs. 3.5 lakh in hiring an external lawyer to defend the two accused teachers, despite the matter being sub-judice.
Another application was filed by the student in December, 2013 under the right to information (RTI) act seeking to know whether the hiring of the lawyer on the behalf of teachers was valid under any provision of the JNU rule book. In response to the application, the university administration at first didn’t provide any information and asked the applicant to appear before the registrar. However, when the student refused to do so, the administration sent her a letter demanding more time to answer the question. The information is still awaited.
It raises an important question to what extent legal protection should be provided to a government servant if a case is slapped on him for some work done by him in official capacity.