It was a case that got India to sit up and notice, and forced the government to clamp down on this menace.
Kachroo lost his life on March 8, 2009. Two years, five months and a strong court judgment later, colleges in the country may have finally become a safer place for students.
According to the HRD ministry’s statistics, incidents of ragging in colleges and universities are on the decline.
This year, a total of 161 complaints of ragging have been made by victims across the country as against 195 complaints received during the same period (January to August) last year.
“In other words, we have seen a decrease of about 17.4 per cent in the incidents of ragging in comparison to 2010,” said an HRD ministry official.
Out of the 161 complaints, the maximum (27 complaints) were made in July, which marks the beginning of the academic session across most colleges and universities.
Though the drop in the number of complaints may not seem too big, ministry officials tag it as significant and attribute the trend to the ‘no tolerance policy’ on ragging enunciated by regulatory bodies like the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), University Grants Commission (UGC), Medical Council of India (MCI) and Dental Council of India (DCI).
In 2009, for instance, the UGC drafted a detailed regulation exclusively for curbing ragging in higher education. This was prompted by a strong judgment passed by the Supreme Court on the matter in wake of Kachroo’s death.
The court ordered that anyone found guilty of indulging in ragging should be immediately expelled.
All educational institutions have to mandatorily follow this ruling.
The list of punishments suggested by the UGC regulation includes suspension from college/university, withdrawal of scholarship, withholding results, cancellation of admission and a fine of anything between Rs 25,000 and Rs 1 lakh.
“These punishments are not just on paper, but universities and colleges have set strong precedent by expelling students,” said the official.
While replying to a question in the Lok Sabha recently, the ministry had informed members that three students were rusticated from a dental college in Rajasthan, five suspended from dental colleges in Rajasthan, two students were not enrolled in a college in Orissa and Assam this year.
While the decline in ragging is good news, what remains a matter of concern is the fact that the majority of cases are concentrated in few states.
A state-wise break-up of the total complaints reveal that the maximum (50 complaints) have come just from two states – Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Maharashtra, Orissa and Kerala follow close with 15, 14 and 13 complaints, respectively.