bullying
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This article is written by Anirudh Vats, second year student at Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala. This article will lay out what actually constitutes bullying and the different ways it can manifest itself. It will also discuss the various laws which govern bullying in India and how they have evolved.

Table of Contents

Bullying

What is Bullying?

Bullying implies an intention to harm, intimidate or coerce an act when there is an imbalance of power and the act is a cause for distress and provocation. Bullying may be verbal, physical or mental in nature and a whole spectrum of acts can constitute bullying. 

It can become a source of trauma for children and young adults and remain with them their whole lives, often leading to mental distress and depression, and in extreme situations, even suicide.

What is central to bullying is an imbalance of power dynamics. Bullies are usually physically stronger than the people they bully. It can be described as a show of strength to undermine or denigrate someone’s dignity to gain sadistic pleasure out of it. 

What most people don’t know, however, is that many people who show violent behaviour and engage in bullying, themselves have low self esteem and are insecure and anxious.

Bullying is a common phenomenon in schools and universities throughout the country and there has been a concerted effort to put an end to bullying and ragging in our educational institutions.

Bullying Meaning in Hindi

डराना-धमकाना, बदमाशी,  दादागिरी, भयभीत करना, झिड़कना, धमकाना, सताना, भयभीत करना, तंग करना, दुख देना, धौंस देना, धौंसियाना

Bullying in Schools

CBSE School Bullying Protection Law

Anti-Bullying Committees

In 2015, due to rising cases of bullying in schools, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), issued guidelines for the prevention of bullying which included the mandatory setting up of Anti-Bullying committees in schools. These committees would comprise of the vice-principal, a senior teacher, school doctor, counsellor, parent-teacher representative, school management representative, legal representative and peer educators.

The roles and responsibilities of this committee would include:

  • Development and review of School Bullying Prevention Plan,
  • Development and implementing bullying prevention programmes,
  • Developing training programmes for staff, students, and parents,
  • Creating awareness through various programmes,
  • Being vigilant and observing signs of bullying and responding quickly and sensitively. Names  and contact numbers of members of the committee should be clearly displayed everywhere in the school premises, etc.

Counsellors

The guidelines also suggest schools to employ trained counsellors to deal with people affected by bullying, be it the victim, the perpetrator or any other student affected by it in any way. This guideline is issued to provide the emotional support that a child needs to cope with bullying and to provide professional help to help him/her overcome it. 

Along with general counsellors, some suggest that mental health experts should also be employed in schools to deal with issues of depression, anxiety and mental distress that a child goes through when affected by bullying in any way.

The guidelines of the CBSE recommend that there should be different counsellors for Primary, Middle and Secondary Schools as children of different ages face different challenges and are at different stages in their mental development.

A Primary School child may is more likely to be bullied physically but a Secondary school student may be prone to more complex forms of bullying like bullying on the basis of race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Counsellors need to be specialized in order to recognize the different stages of mental development at different ages in children, and therefore there needs to be multiple counsellors in the school.

The guidelines also suggest increased involvement of counsellors in residential schools, which have a much higher probability of children being bullied, mocked or assaulted. In residential schools, it is imperative that wardens and members of the school administration remain vigilant to the changing dynamics of student interaction within the hostel environment, which is much different from a classroom scenario.

Counsellors need to have a collaborative attitude towards the children they deal with, not just the victims of bullying but also the perpetrators. The children need to feel like they can confide in the counsellors, only then will they relay their own insecurities, reservations and motivations behind their behaviour.

Often, due to social stigma and fear of physical or mental harm, children who are victims of bullying do not easily open up about their experience and hide whatever they have gone through. In this scenario, children can easily shut themselves out from even their loved ones.

To tackle this, they should be able to trust the counsellors enough to share their experience and try to reconcile and get over what they have been through.

Appointment of Sentinels/Monitors/Peer educators

The guidelines also advise the school to appoint Sentinels and monitors from within the student community, preferably from the Prefectorial Board or the Student Council of the school. These students need to be sensitized as to the gravity and seriousness of bullying, and need to be on a constant lookout for any violent behaviour amongst the students.

Their role, however needs to be collaborative and passive. Any cases of bullying they become aware of, need to be reported directly to the relevant authorities, and if an incident occurs in their presence, their involvement needs to be preventive in nature and polite towards all parties so as to dissipate the situation as quickly as possible.

The onus to educate and spread awareness about bullying and how to deal with it lies on the school. Schools need to take initiatives, conduct seminars, conferences, interactive sessions between seniors and juniors and instil a sense of collaboration and unity among the students.

The guidelines also provide for the presence of peer educators, who must be trained in Life Skills, to better arm students with the practical know-how to deal with a violent or dangerous situation. It is their duty to also provide moral education to sensitize students towards their ethical responsibilities and potentially dissuade violent behaviour in students.

Developing a Positive Attitude Through Value Education

According to the guidelines, apart from tangible ways of tackling bullying, schools also need to head in a moral direction. A stage needs to be reached where students are not dissuaded from engaging in bullying due to fear of punishment, but because they realize that what they’re doing is ethically wrong and develop a moral barometer.

The guidelines say that children need to be educated about “human rights, democratic values, respect for diversity and equality, and respect for the privacy and dignity of others.” 

This can be done through organizing assemblies, interactive sessions, and Q and A’s where experts and teachers try to educate all parties and stakeholders in the school, be it the parents, the students or the teachers themselves.

These are the specific areas in which the guidelines advise educational initiatives to focus on:

  • Adolescence and puberty related education
  • Education on values, morals and ethics of being a student
  • Human rights and duties
  • Gender sensitivity, differences and awareness
  • Building up of self worth and self esteem
  • Importance of empathetic and compassionate values
  • Developing interpersonal communication skills and appropriate social behaviour
  • Coping with stress, anxiety and emotional distress
  • Control of anger and violent tendencies
  • Resisting peer pressure

The guidelines also advise school to use art to get through to students when it comes to social issues like bullying. This can take the form of stage plays, nukkad nataks, special assemblies, poster competitions, drawing or painting competitions, training programmes, debates, elocutions etc.

Parent Teacher Meetings

Another important guideline suggests the increased usage of parent-teacher meetings to gain a better understanding of the child’s situation, and let the parents be aware of the climate and surroundings their child is inhabiting, and how to better help him/her cope with bullying.

Another purpose that these meetings would serve is to trace the cause of problematic behaviour in children. Often what happens is that the behaviour children exhibit stems from their home environment and the behaviour of their parents. Increased coordination between teachers and parents will help gain an insight into the motivations a child has when he engages in acts of bullying.

The family background is essential in the emotional and psychological development of a child. Parents are also one of the primary stakeholders in a school and need to be sensitized about the dangers of bullying and violent behaviour in kids. 

Parents need to be included in the initiatives taken up by the school against bullying. It needs to be conveyed to them that it is of utmost importance that they report any incident of bullying they come across to the relevant authorities.

Orientation programmes need to be conducted for the parents as well, to instil a sense of responsibility towards the children as well as the school.

It is only through the collaborative effort of the school administration, the parents and the student community that the problem of bullying can be tackled successfully. Therefore, parent-teacher meetings are a must to begin tackling the problem of bullying in schools.

Prevention and Redressal Mechanisms

According to the guidelines, the methods of prevention are as important as the methods of intervention. This can be achieved through the methods elucidated earlier and also through the increased responsibility and accountability of the school. A sanction based system is not adequate to deter bullying, there should be an active effort to prevent incidents from occurring in the first place.

A clear cut process needs to be established as to the investigation of a bullying incident. After proper investigation, an appropriate punishment or penalty needs to be meted out which should be just, fair and adequate and should not be challenged in practise.

Comprehensive guidelines may be developed for School Management which includes the various actions and penalties which may be taken by the School Management as per observation and understanding the gravity of the misconduct. Some of the recommended actions include:

  1. Oral/written warning.
  2. Suspension from attending classes/school for a specified period.
  3. Withholding or cancelling the results.
  4. Imposition of fine upto a specified amount.
  5. Expulsion/rustication from school in rarest of rare cases.
  6. The option of transferring a student from one school to another school may also be looked into.

It is imperative that the punishment must be in proportion to the crime committed. Therefore, a comprehensive system of progressive penalties, fines and punishments need to be established.

Promoting an atmosphere of confidence and trust

The guidelines also provide for the setting up of a complaint/suggestion box in which the students can contribute their own opinions and viewpoints with the assurance of anonymity.

Good suggestions could be read out in assemblies and good behaviour should be rewarded.

Focus should be put on developing communication skills from primary schools. Children should feel that they can trust their teachers completely and develop an emotional connection with them from an early age.

Strategies should be developed to make the school a more inclusive, accepting and collaborative place for children.

Other guidelines in the law

  • If a child is found engaging in bullying, a written warning will be handed out to him, and after enquiry he/she can be rusticated from the institution.
  • Also, every school is to have a notice board on which the penalties and repercussions of bullying are clearly laid out.

Bullying in College

UGC Circular

The University Grants Commission (Hereafter, UGC), on account of increasing bullying-related suicides, issued a landmark notification in 2009 to curb rampant ragging throughout higher-education institutions in India. 

There has been three amendments made to the circular, and it remains the primary government statute which pertains to ragging in higher education institutions.

Definitions

The UGC has given three definitions of ragging, they go as follows:

1.Any disorderly conduct whether by words spoken or written or by an act which has the effect of teasing, treating or handling with rudeness a fresher or a junior student.

2.Indulging in a rowdy or undisciplined activities which causes or is likely to cause annoyance, hardship or Psychological harm or to raise fear or apprehension thereof in a fresher or a junior student.

3.Asking the students to do any act or perform something which such student will not in the ordinary course and which has the effect of causing or generating a sense of shame or embarrassment so as to adversely affect the physique or Psyche of a fresher or a junior student.

Measures for prevention

The circular makes it mandatory for every college to display overtly on every brochure, circular or form it releases pertaining to admission in that university, the fact that ragging and any activity which promotes or supports ragging is prohibited and strict action will be taken against anyone who engages in such activities.

The brochure of admission should print all the relevant regulations regarding ragging in full.

It should also include the numbers of the anti ragging helpline, the head of the institution, the anti ragging cell of the university, District and Sub Divisional authorities, Wardens of hostels.

The application of admission should also contain a form which is mandatorily to be filled up by any student and signed. It should contain the student’s agreement that he understands the rules and regulations against ragging and promises to abide by them.A similar form is to be read and signed by the parents of every student as well.

The circular requires that at the start of every academic session, the head of any institution to convene a meeting of wardens, anti ragging cells, student representatives and faculty members to discuss and deliberate on improving and solidifying measures against ragging. The onus is on the college to spread awareness about the dehumanizing effect of ragging and related behaviour. Every department, building hostel etc. must have posters and circulars elucidating the strict policy against ragging. 

The circular requires colleges to identify vulnerable areas throughout the campus and keep a constant vigil in these areas. Tightening of security in areas like the hostel, or any other secluded areas is imperative.

All institutions should conduct discrete random surveys every two weeks for the first three months of the academic year in the hostels, with special focus on the junior years and the freshers. It does allow every institution to formulate its own methodology as to the surprise surveys.

If an institution is affiliated to a parent university, then the head of that institution needs to submit a weekly report of the university’s adherence to and practise of the Anti Ragging measures to the Vice Chancellor of the parent university and a monthly report thereafter. The Vice Chancellor in turn needs to submit a fortnightly report to the State Level monitoring cell. These are essential steps to hold the Universities accountable for not just applying these rules but also ensuring that they are correctly and efficiently implemented. The submission of reports to higher authorities keeps these universities under constant scrutiny and thus keeps higher institutions in check and constantly clamping down on ragging related activities.

Procedure in case of a complaint

If the head of an institution receives information of a ragging related incident, either from the Anti-ragging committee or through an individual complaint, he immediately needs to ascertain whether any penal laws apply to the incident or if any section of the IPC has been violated.

In case of violation, he also needs to make sure which sections apply to the particular incident, and then file a First Information Report (FIR), either on his own, or through a member of the Anti-Ragging committee authorized by him.

Separate from this, an internal investigation needs to be carried out by the college authorities on their own accord. There is no need to wait for the police or the local authorities to get involved, the college has absolute authority in investigating a ragging charge in its own capacity and mete out adequate punishment.

The penalty, fine or punishment imposed by the college is separate from the criminal proceedings that will be carried out against the perpetrator.

Duties and responsibilities of the UGC

  • The UGC would be responsible to operate a toll-free helpline for ragging related incidents which would be operational at all times and accessible to students who might be victims of ragging related incidents 24×7.
    This initiative is truly commendable as it offers an instant option for students to find some help, which may be in the form of information, moral support or even emotional help. Students might sometimes be hesitant to report an incident to the college authorities due to fear of physical or mental harm by their tormentors. The helpline number can also act as a contingency for emergency, and is a pivotal step to students entertaining thoughts about self harm or suicide. To improve the helpline, what can be done is to train the operators with the skills to handle a situation where a student is in emotional distress and thinking about self harm. The Anti ragging helpline number is 1800-180-5522.
  • Any complaint or distress message received by the helpline will promptly be forwarded to the Head of the concerned institution, the warden of the hostel, the Nodal officer of the affiliating university. If required, depending on the seriousness and immediacy of the incident, the message can also be relayed to the District magistrate, the Superintendent of Police and all other concerned district authorities. The message would also be relayed to the media so that the general public becomes aware of it.

This prompt action on the part of the Commission authorities is of utmost importance. Often, what happens is that universities, in an attempt to save its reputation and image in the eyes of the public, try to shut down cases of ragging and prevent them from getting out in the public domain. The use of this helpline and the subsequent action by the operators on behalf of the UGC, ensure that information about the incident reaches not only the general public, but also the administrative authorities which are concerned to pursue legal investigation.

  • The commission shall maintain a database which would consist of the affidavits      submitted by the children which are promptly signed and affirmed by their parents. This database would also catalogue any complaints forwarded by or towards any student and would also update the information about the investigation conducted in reply to these complaints. Such a record is essential as it helps in ascertaining the statistics of ragging related incidents in the various surveys which happen on a regular basis. It also keeps a record of the investigation done with regard to these incidents, which is essential to ensure due process.
  • The commission shall also make this data available to a non-governmental agency, which is to be nominated by the central government. This is essential because the database is of no use if the general public cannot access it and hold the relevant authorities responsible for any discrepancy in the investigation procedure, any inadequacy of effort or any excesses during the investigation. The public availability of the database is essential to ensure transparency and accountability towards the general public.

Other Regulatory steps to be taken by the UGC

  1. Any incident of ragging related incidents in college will directly affect the accreditation or the grade received by the university, be it from the The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) or any other recognized accreditation agency involved in ranking or grading of universities. This is another monumental step by the UGC, as it provides immediate incentive for the colleges to dissuade and eradicate ragging from their campuses. Prevalence of ragging on campus not only affects their reputation and image but negatively affects their ranking and credibility, which is a tremendous motivator for colleges to take prompt action against ragging.
  2. The Commission also has the right to treat preferentially the institutions which have a spotless record when it comes to ragging, be it in the form of permits, financial grants, etc. 
  3. The commission shall also constitute an Inter-Council committee, which would act as a parent committee for various other committees and consist of representatives from individual Anti – Ragging committees as well as from the appointed Non-governmental agency in charge of the official databases. The duties of this inter council committee would be to form new rules, regulations to make Anti Ragging law more extensive and effective, and constantly strive to implement the measures more effectively at the ground level.
  4. The commission shall constitute an Anti- ragging cell within the commission which would provide secretarial support and coordinate with State level monitoring cells and University level committees as well as the Non-governmental agency in charge of database monitoring to achieve better ground level implementation of the Anti-ragging measures.

Stepwise Administrative action in the event of Ragging

  1. The first step is that the Anti-Ragging committee of the university shall take appropriate decision as to the guilt and subsequent punishment of the perpetrator, subject to the facts of the case and the urgency and gravity of the incident which has occurred.
  2. One of the following punishments can be given to the perpetrator, depending on the facts and the gravity of the crime:
    a. Suspension from academic privileges and barring entry to attend classes.
    b. Withholding or withdrawing any financial benefits, scholarships or fellowships which may be attributed to the student.
    c. Withholding results or marks in examination.
    d. Banning the student from representing the university at the local, national or international level in any competition, festival or event.
    e. Suspension or expulsion from the hostel.
    f. Cancellation or withdrawal of admission in the university.
    g. Rustication of the student for anywhere between 1 to 4 semesters depending upon the seriousness of the crime.
    h. Expulsion from the university and debarring from taking admission in any other institution for a stipulated period of time.
  3. An appeal can be made against the decision of the committee in the following conditions:
    i.) In case of an order by the institution, affiliated or otherwise, to the Vice Chancellor of the University
    ii.) In case of an order to the Chancellor of the University.
    iii.) In case of an institution of National Importance created by an act of Parliament, to the chairman or chancellor of the university, as the case may be.

Administrative Negligence

In case a faculty member, warden of the hostel, member of the administration or any other official affiliated to the university, fails to report adequately about an incident, shows neglect or disregard for the incident occurred, tries to silence victims to save face, or display an apathetic or dismissive attitude towards ragging related activities, will be held accountable for their actions.

A departmental disciplinary action, as per the procedure of the institution will be conducted against such member of the administration and appropriate action will be taken.

In case the negligence of the administration is attributable to the head of the institution, the authority to designated to appoint the head of that institution will carry out the disciplinary proceedings. 

It is imperative that these proceedings be completely free of bias or conflict of interest. This is because, often the administration of universities have a mutual understanding with the immediate authorities that govern them, and the proceedings could be compromised.

Thankfully, there are measures against something like this happening in the circular as well.

In case an institution  fails to take adequate steps to prevent or deter ragging and related activities, fails to adequately punish the guilty, or conducts compromised and biased disciplinary actions against people who mishandled the situation, then the commission has the right to take the following steps:

  1. Withdrawing or cancelling the right of said institution to receive grants by the government.
  2. Withholding or taking back any grant or financial benefit already allocated to the university.
  3. Declaring the institution ineligible to receive any special or general assistance which the UGC grants to higher education institutions. Be it in the form of grants, financial benefits, or logistical support.
  4. The UGC can declare to the media and the general public as well as to potential admittees in the university that the University is unfit for admission as it does not take adequate measures against ragging, and can even declare that the University does not meet minimum academic standards.
  5. It can also take any other action, pose a penalty, or adequate fine, as the commission may deem fit in accordance with the seriousness of the negligence by the university.

Amendments to the circular

First Amendment

The first amendment to the circular happened in 2012 and was nominal in nature. The words “UGC regulations on curbing the menace of ragging in higher educational institutions were replaced with “Curbing the menace of ragging in higher educational institutions regulations.”

A few other words were replaced throughout the circular, but were merely nominal.

Second Amendment

The second amendment made the circulars and forms which are to be signed and affirmed by every student and his/her parents were made more extensive and far-reaching.

Third Amendment

The third amendment was the only amendment which made a substantive change to the circular. It added in a new clause Para 3 clause 3 of the circular. It read as follows:

3 j.) Any act of physical or mental abuse (including bullying and exclusion) targeted at another student (fresher or otherwise) on the ground of colour, race, religion, caste, ethnicity, gender (including transgender), sexual orientation, appearance, nationality, regional origins, linguistic identity, place of birth, place of residence or economic background. 

Therefore, it can be seen that the circular of 2009 was a monumental and historic step against ragging in India, and changed the attitude of universities, the media as well as the general public towards ragging in India.

Earlier, ragging was considered a part of “college life”, and students were expected to just bear with it. But this colossal legislation, as well as the cases and incidents which triggered the drafting of this legislation, has slowly but surely been changing the outlook towards ragging as a reprehensible activity.

A student nowadays has enough redressal to any untoward incident that happens with him, and even if the administration of his college fails him, there is redressal to be sought from higher authorities and strict action can and will be taken against anyone who has engaged in ragging and related activities.

Relevant Sections of Indian Penal Code

College students who engage in bullying or ragging are over 18 years old and capable of committing criminal acts, therefore sections of the Indian Penal Code are applicable to them. 

Some of the sections they may be found guilty under are:

Criminal intimidation occurs when a person threatens another individual to injury to body, reputation or property, and in turn coerces him/her to do an illegal act or something that he/she would not normally do.
A common occurrence in cases of ragging is the threat to bodily harm or a spread of false rumours about someone if they do not obey and follow the instructions of the raggers.
Criminal intimidation is also used by offenders to coerce students to not report the incident that has happened

  • Ss. 323 – 326 (Causing hurt and grievous hurt and the punishments for the same),   etc. In cases resulting in the death of the victim of bullying or ragging,
    This is self explanatory. Almost every serious case of ragging involves causing hurt of some kind to another person voluntarily and in full knowledge of his/her actions.
    Many juniors across medical, engineering and other colleges have to face physical abuse and sometimes have to endure for long periods of time.

The constant threat of physical harm also prevents them from reporting the abuse to relevant authorities and they are often socially isolated and unable to seek help from any external individual or organization.
Causing grievous hurt also in extreme scenarios can sometimes result in the death or permanent disability of the victim.

Unfortunately, it is not that uncommon. Seniors in colleges across the country, often in inebriated states, cause such serious harm to juniors while committing ragging, that it results in their death.
We saw examples of this in the cases of Pon Navarasu, Aman Kachroo and Ajmal PM, which are discussed below.

  • (S. 306) Abetment of suicide may apply.
    This is also a common section under which ragging offenders are charged. Many students from around the country are driven to committing suicide because they are exposed to such serious forms of violent and abusive behaviour by their seniors in college. The mental harm caused by the abuse and ragging builds up and compounds over time, due to the continuous and repeating nature of the offences and takes the victim to a point where he feels completely helpless and does not see a way out of his predicament. It is indeed a failure of ours as a society, that a child stuck in such a tragic situation, finds no help from the college authorities, the legal authorities or even his own parents.

Bullying at Workplace

Bullying is generally observed as acts or verbal remarks that could mentally hurt or alienate an individual in the working environment. Once in a while, tormenting can include negative physical contact too. Bullying more often than not includes rehashed occurrences or conduct that is proposed to scare, outrage, corrupt or mortify a specific individual or gathering of individuals. It has likewise been depicted as the statement of power through coercion.

Some examples of Bullying in the workplace are:

  • Spreading untrue and ill intentioned rumours, gossip, or innuendo.
    This may seem like a trivial point but it is not. What constitutes bullying? Are two people talking about another person in a negative light amount to bullying? Obviously it doesn’t. People are entitled to their opinion and have freedom of speech and expression. But when a person makes a statement about someone which is untrue, endangers the reputation or moral credibility of someone and amounts to defamation, it can be considered bullying. As earlier discussed, bullying is often paired with an imbalance of power. In the workplace, a scenario can arise where a person who is higher in the professional hierarchy, targets a person under him in designation, stature and by implication, power and denigrates the dignity and reputation of that person. Often , in these situations, the aggrieved party is not in the position to socially hold his superior accountable and his position often deprives him of the confidence to legally sue the perpetrator. 
  • Excluding or alienating someone socially.
    This is another way in which individuals are bullied. Although, most bullying in the workplace happens when a superior bullies a subordinate, this kind of bullying can occur among peers.
    This sort of bullying is not limited to the workplace, and occurs in any social environment which is mildly competitive in nature.
    Whenever people interact socially, they are bound to form groups. These groups can often turn hostile towards each other ( called relational aggression) and sometimes a whole group can engage in a concerted effort to isolate and alienate a certain individual. 

This can arise out of that individual being different or unconventional in his mannerisms, being overly competent or focused, or because he suffers from social anxiety. This usually plays out in that person becoming socially isolated, with people openly ignoring him/her and mistreating the individual, strengthened by the public opinion against him.

This isolation can affect a person tremendously. When a person finds himself completely isolated, neglected and ignored by his social environment, and any protest against this turns into hostility against him, it can cause severe mental distress. This affects productivity, focus, emotional stability, and it becomes impossible for someone to survive in an environment like this for long.

  • Coercing a person to do an act.
    This is one of the most common forms of bullying in the workplace. People misuse their positions of power on a regular basis in corporate environments.
    Suppose a business professional is working under a superior and his boss asks him/her to do menial or laborious work (making coffee, running a personal errand of the boss) which would suit a clerk or an office boy, and it is unethical and insulting to ask a professional to do an act. Naturally, the person refuses to do said act.

In reply, the boss threatens to fire him or deny him a promotion. Often, people do not have any redressal when they are caught in a situation like this because the power of the superior is too immense and one has a lot to lose. The choice is between doing a menial task which might be beneath your capability or even morally wrong and completely endangering your professional career.

Sometimes the act may be even more severe. There have been cases all around the world where bosses have asked female employees for sexual favours in return for a promotion or a pay raise. After the coming up of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act (2013), these cases are better governed. But just because a legal provision exists, does not mean that it is successful in deterring violations. What needs to be considered is that the majority of Sexual Harassment cases are not reported due to the imbalance of power and coercion and blackmailing by people in positions of authority.

What ensures the continuance of such bullying is the fact that it occurs in private corporate spaces and there is no external authority governing nor is there a proper redressal or complaint system within the corporation.

Therefore, to resolve these issues, there needs to be increased accountability of people in positions of power even in private spaces. There also needs to be a shift in the attitude of society towards mistreatment of employees. There is a general consensus among the corporate workforce that to get ahead in any profession, you need to be a boot-licking sycophant and be ready to do any and everything for your superiors.

  • Undermining or sabotaging a person’s work.
    Sometimes superiors develop an opinion or bias against someone and as a result seek to actively downplay their efforts and not reward them adequately for the tasks that they do.
    This amounts to bullying because it discredits the merit and the competence of a worker, and he is not rewarded for the work that he does.
    Sometimes, a boss may even actively sabotage someone’s work so as to favour someone else or because of an inherent prejudice or bias.
  • Physically abusing or sexual harassment.
    This is perhaps the most serious misuse of power that occurs in a workplace. This type of bullying usually happens against women, and is an issue of grave concern in modern workspaces.
    There needs to be a radical change in how we perceive working women and society as a whole is complacent about the atrocities committed against women in corporate environment.
  • Constantly changing work guidelines and requirements.
    This is another common form of overworking and oppressing a worker, constantly giving new instructions, rendering previous work useless and not valuing the effort of someone is a common form of bullying in the workplace.
  • Making unrealistic deadlines that set up the individual to fail.
    Such practises are very prevalent in the cut throat competition of the corporate world, where it is a general practise to overwork people and offer them deadlines that are unrealistic and impossible for an individual to meet
  • Withholding necessary information or purposefully giving the wrong information.
    This can be done among peers as a way to sabotage the progress of someone. This is also prevalent in workspaces,
  • Making jokes that are offensive by spoken word or e-mail.
    Mocking or ridiculing someone is one of the most common disguises bullying takes on, as it is often socially accepted and even encouraged. Good natured humour aside, jokes are made on a person’s race, colour, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation etc. which denigrate the dignity of an individual and lower his self worth.
    Such jokes often reek of bigotry and small-mindedness but nevertheless result in bullying because they are considered acceptable by the social environment.
    There is no place for such practises in a professional workspace, and therefore such practises should be strongly discouraged.
  • Intruding on a person’s privacy by pestering, spying or stalking.
    Recently, the Supreme Court declared the Right to Privacy as a fundamental right. It is imperative in these connected times to ensure your privacy, because it is harder than ever in today’s era to shield your private life from public scrutiny.
    From stalking on social media to accessing emails, people use many tactics to spy on others and gather information to use against someone.
  • Underwork – creating a feeling of uselessness.
    It is important for a person to feel like he is of worth and doing a job which is contributing in a substantial way to the final product or the corporation.
    But with increasing specialization and high degree of division of labour, people often end up feeling like their cogs in a great machine and are of no use to anything worthwhile.

This breeds a sense of dissatisfaction in the employee and he is alienated from the world. This is a more passive form of oppression in the workplace.

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Other examples:

  • Yelling or using profanity.
  • Criticising a person persistently or constantly.
  • Belittling a person’s opinions.
  • Unwarranted (or undeserved) punishment.
  • Blocking applications for training, leave or promotion.
  • Tampering with a person’s personal belongings or work equipment.

There is no law which deals directly with bullying in the workplace but there are other laws which regulate behaviour of individuals in a work environment. 

There are many labour laws which ensure a certain level of social security and the maintenance of the dignity of an individual at the workplace. 

There also exists the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act (2013) which establishes strict legal sanction on any incident of harassment of women, be it physical, verbal or mental in nature. It also places strict measures on inappropriate behaviour in the workplace and has gone a long way to ensure the safety of working women in the country.

Bullying Types

Verbal

Verbal bullying may include personal insults, slurs or name calling on the basis of racial or ethnic backgrounds, or even homophobic or sexually coloured remarks. Verbal bullying is one of the most common forms of bullying and can lead to a lot of mental trauma in the victim and impair his social life.

What needs to be understood is that words have a lot of power. Words work in an insidious way, slowly but surely, when a person is subjected to constant verbal abuse, their self image gets destroyed and their self esteem becomes low. Gradually, they start becoming low on confidence and start to see themselves through other people’s eyes.

The harm is primarily psychological, where constant insults and bullying makes a person feel hopelessly alone, and they start resenting the world and the people around them. This resentment grows and festers, and can come out in a lot of ways.

Some people turn to self harm or start displaying suicidal tendencies. Others lash out violently towards others in their life, be it their family, their closest friends or their loved ones. Their emotional stability is affected and they become perpetually on edge and anxious.

This psychological harm can manifest in physical harm as well, as many mentally disturbed and emotionally unstable people turn to intoxicants and other chemical inhibitors to cope with their predicament.

Alcohol, marijuana related products, even hard drugs like cocaine and heroin pose grave dangers to the physicality of a person.

An example of verbal bullying in schools could be calling a less sporty or physically inclined person a wimp or a nerd, and other derogatory insults which affect the self worth and esteem of a person.

Another common occurrence is when a person has effeminate mannerisms and is subjected to constant homophobic and bigoted comments from his/her peers and socially isolated and ridiculed. Comments on the Gender and sexual identity of a person can really make it hard for a person to accept his sexual orientation and in extreme situations, he/she may even start to doubt their sexual orientation and actively try to change it or hide it, which may have adverse effects on them throughout their life.
Often,children find themselves incapable of tackling a situation where they are cornered and bullied on a regular basis. In this scenario, an external authority, be it the parents or the school administration, needs to come to the child’s aid and help him out.

How can parents help their children tackle verbal bullying?

  • The first and obvious step is to inform the school administration of the behaviour of the bully(s). Parents need to realize that the onus is on the school to eradicate such behaviour and need to hold the administration to their responsibility. Parents should regularly keep checking with the school authorities and follow up with their children as to the behaviour of problematic students.
  • Resisting suggestions to simply ignore the bully. This is a common advice given to children who are subject to bullying in schools. The assumption is that bully(s) would be deterred on not getting a reaction. But this often not what happens. Bullies are strengthened when they know that they are mentally affecting someone, and this is the impression they get when a sufficient reaction to deter them is not present. Children should not have to hide or endure the harassment or abuse that they face. There should be prompt action taken against such bullying by the relevant authorities.
  • Encouraging your child to participate in social and extracurricular activities is a great way to develop pro social behaviour in children and prevent them from being socially isolated.  Bullying can often breed loneliness in children and developing healthy social habits in children and values like respect, teamwork, collaboration etc. can go a long way in keeping the child emotionally stable and at peace.

Physical

Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, tripping, pinching and pushing or damaging property. Physical bullying causes both short term and long term damage. This is the most primal expression of power, that is, physically harming someone. This sort of abuse, apart from causing injury also leads to low self esteem and a loss of confidence in the victim of such a heinous act.

A distinction needs to be made between an act of violence and physical bullying. An isolated act of violence doesn’t constitute bullying. Bullying occurs when the same person is victimized repeatedly. There also needs to be an intention to hurt, intimidate, control or dominate the other party. Another prerequisite of bullying is that there needs to exist a real or perceived imbalance of power, arising out of brute physical capability of the oppressor or his higher social standing. 

Middle school is the time when physical bullying really starts to take shape. This is the time when children start becoming socially active,start getting affected by their peers and start forming strong friendships with each other. This is also the time children start to develop serious hostility towards each other which may sometimes take the form of violence or bullying.

Physical bullying almost predominantly happens among male children. Boys tend to be more physically promiscuous and are likely to show violent behaviour.

Students who bully others are often lacking in qualities like compassion, empathy and respect. If they are not controlled and socialized properly, then these tendencies can mutate into something more serious and sinister, like criminal behaviour when they are adults.

Often, students suffering from physical bullying recede into themselves and do not open up, even to their families or loved ones. Following are some signs that your ward may be suffering from physical bullying:

  • Finding bruises, cuts or other inexplicable injuries on a regular basis
  • Torn or broken books, bags, stationary and other possessions
  • Coming back from school without a tiffin, bottle or stationary etc. and claiming it is”lost” on a regular basis
  • Complaining of frequently not feeling well before school or school activities
  • Skipping classes and bunking school
  • COnstantly not wanting to go to school, coming back home after hours and perpetually being in a bad mood
  • Acting sad, depressed or anxious
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Saying they feel picked on
  • Displaying low self esteem and worth
  • Lashing  out at family members in spurts of anger and showing resentment for no reason
  • Wanting to run away or escape constantly
  • Trying to take a weapon to school
  • Showing suicidal or self harm tendencies

Social Bullying

This is a more covert and subtle kind of bullying but one which may isolate a person even more than other forms of bullying. This occurs when there is a concerted effort on the part of people in the social vicinity of an individual to ridicule, insult, or try to destroy the reputation of a person.

This may occur behind the back of a person and might slowly lead the individual into a situation where he/she might start mistrusting everyone around and feel alienated and alone.

In a national survey done by BullyingUk, it was found that 55% of young people surveyed have experienced social bullying. Of those who have been cyberbullied, 36% were left out on purpose and 51% had false rumours spread about them.

  • Spreading false rumours or baseless gossip about an individual.
  • Encouraging others to isolate or alienate someone and ignore them.
  • Leaving someone out constantly and encouraging others to do the same.
  • Socially excluding someone online, cyberbullying, negative comments on posts and images.
  • Damaging someone’s social reputation or social acceptance.
  • Using humiliating nicknames and continuing when asked to stop.

Why do people engage in social bullying?

  1. Attention seeking behaviour: When people organize in groups, they often engage in attention seeking behaviour, this may be cracking jokes, constantly picking on someone, or any act to separate themselves and gain the attention of their peers
  2. Impressing someone or attracting the opposite sex: Misled boys often believe that if they assert their dominance among their peers and constantly pick on someone to attract the attention of the opposite sex.
  3. Compensating for low self esteem, confidence or having anger issues: This is another common reason why people engage in social bullying. People who need validation for their own low self image and lack of confidence, turn to depraved ways of picking on someone weaker to assert their identity and gain attention. People often have violent tendencies in their nature, which may arise from their domestic family situation which they are acting out on people weaker than them.
  4. They are victims of bullying themselves: This is another common reason why people bully. In the past, they may have been subjected to a similar situation and developed a resentment due to it. This resentment often festers into something more serious and then that person replicates the same behaviour he was subjected to, displaying his/her own twisted idea of revenge.
  5. Arising out of jealousy and envy: sometimes people are jealous or envious towards a certain individual, maybe due to his looks, his ability, talent or competence and you target them by bullying them to assert your dominance in front of them.

An individual caught in such a scenario often sees no way out of his predicament, but there are some ways you can tackle this difficult situation:

  1. Recognize your friends: A true friend would never engage in socially alienating or isolating you. Analyze your relationships and figure out who among your peers actually cares about you, your aspirations, your interests and believes in you. Start spending more time around people who are more welcoming, compassionate and understanding towards. Build your own social safety net, and keep your dearest friends close to you. If there is a person or a group of people around whom you feel uncomfortable, or if you feel like they pick on you or mock you too much, then stop spending time with them and cut their toxicity out of your life. Slowly but surely, if you start filtering your social relationships, you will start feeling more comfortable in social scenarios and regain your confidence and self esteem.
  2. Ask for Help: This is the most obvious and yet for many, the hardest step to take. Your closest friends and family are always there to help you, take care of you when you’re going through a tough time and help you regain your self-belief. But often, when someone is subject to social bullying, they recede into themselves and do not take the help or seek advice from their family.
    Talk to anyone with whom you are comfortable expressing your vulnerabilities and struggles with. Just the act of sharing your predicament can go a long way in helping you cope emotionally with what you are dealing with. 
  3. Get Involved: Join Group activities, try to find people with similar interests as yours and become socially active in a healthy way. Fight the urge to recede into yourself and cut off from the world. Participating in social activities can take your mind off the bullying or abusive behaviour you might be going through.
  4. Be Yourself: This is also of utmost importance. People’s negative opinions can impact you so much that you can start believing that you are exactly what they say you are. It is hard to maintain your own distinct identity when you are facing social bullying, but it is paramount that you stay the way you are and do not change yourself due to social pressure or a need to fit in.

Cyber Bullying

A study led by Microsoft Corporation in 2012, spread over 25 nations positioned India third in the quantity of internet cyberbullying cases.

As indicated by the 2014 investigation led by the Internet security organization, McAfee, “Half of the young in India have had some experience with cyberbullying.”

The 2016 Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report expresses that 51% of guardians around the globe consider online bullying to be as likely as being bullied at school or work.

Cyber bullying can be overt or indirect. It utilizes computerized advancements, including equipment, for example, PCs and cell phones, and programming, for example, internet based life, texting, writings, sites and other online stages.

Cyber bullying is sometimes seen as a less harmful form of bullying which exists online and does not manifest itself physically in the world. It is often dismissed as being just a “couple of comments online”, which are easily ignored.

This is a problematic opinion. Cyberbullying can be intimidating, dangerous, invasive and very real to the people who go through it. 

People often say “Just turn off your phone and don’t think about it” but it is not as simple as that. The digitization of our daily lives has led us to be dependant on our phones, and most of our friendships and relationships are dependant on our phones. In this scenario, when there is an effort to destroy someone’s reputation online, the effect ripples into people’s lives and their relationships.

Therefore, cyber bullying is a grave concern in contemporary times.

Cyber bullying can occur whenever. It can occur in public or in private and once in a while just known to the objective and the individual bullying. Cyber bullying can include:

  • Damaging or destructive writings, messages or posts, pictures or recordings.
    The age of social media has made our life public. In this scenario, people often try to publicly shame others by posting compromising or private material online for the world to see.
    Recently, many celebrities have been blackmailed by hackers who have got hold of private photos or messages and have subsequently leaked them online as well.

Questions arise about the danger social media websites pose to the privacy of people.

  • Spreading false rumours or gossip tidbits.
    This is the oldest trick in the book to destroy someone’s reputation, but this becomes an even bigger problem when it happens on a social media website because it is available for the world to see. 
  • Hacking.

An individual/a gathering of individuals, who has the requisite knowledge about technology, hacks into your web based life/web accounts. For the most part, this occurs with not well-secured accounts, similar to the ones with a straightforward password.

  • Social Media impersonation.

This is normally joined with hacking, and it implies that somebody is professing to be you, either hacking and utilizing your record, or making a phony one. This is a thing to stress over, on the grounds that that “somebody” could lie or post inappropriate things!

  • Spam

This is truly irritating, in light of the fact that this implies somebody is sending to you messages/messages continually, as a rule with substance that doesn’t intrigue you/it’s inappropriate, at the point that it gets truly irritating. At present, there are various approaches to abstain from spamming, such as “blocking” the individual.

Relational Aggression

Relational aggression (RA) is an intangible form of social bullying whereby the wrongdoer’s goal is to inflict or threaten damage to relationships, including harm to the victim’s social standing or reputation. This form of aggression may result in long-term psychological harm to victims.

Relational aggression is another form of bullying which occurs when there is a deliberate attempt to manipulate or sabotage a person’s social standing. Research has found that although such aggression is prevalent among both genders, it is more apparent and deliberate in females.

At the preschool level, relational hostility is probably going to come as continuous threats about what another girl needs to do to keep up a friendship. Superficially, this doesn’t sound like much, and it likely happens because of an absence of friendship-starting aptitudes, immature social association abilities or past companion dismissal bringing about low confidence. On the off chance that these dangers happen day by day (and even on different occasions multi day), the tyke goes too far from a social abilities mistake to harassing in an undercover, relational manner.

Girls can experience low confidence, side effects of anxiety and depression, fear of going to class, they might even decline to go to class, and inescapable dejection because of relational hostility. At times, girls may have self-destructive musings. In the event that you presume that your little girl is liable to relational animosity, escape.

Bullying Examples

Bullying can occur in a lot of different scenarios and situations. These are a few examples:

Cyberspace

  • Adolescents mock one of their teachers for being overweight in a video posted on the web, which is transferred, forwarded and shared by countless Web users. The man endures outcomes that influence him in his expert and individual life.
  • A university student routinely gets messages or emails calling him a “loser”. He starts to avoid social event and starts being intimidated by different students and skips his classes increasingly more frequently.
  • Somebody posts a private photograph of a lady on the Internet. She feels embarrassed and wronged. She makes a futile attempt to stifle the photograph.
  • Repeating unfair remarks about First Nations and Inuit are distributed in response to articles on the web.

Family

  • A young lady is always maligned, insulted and exploited by her step brother. She feels a loss of dignity due to his derogatory attitude to the degree that she loses her appetite stays away from the common areas of the home and permanently resigns to her room.
  • A man who is losing his financial independence consistently acknowledges to offer money to his daughter in spite of his low pay, since she threatens to quit running errands for him (basic food item, drug store, and so forth.), an administration that enables him to continue living at home, on the off chance that he doesn’t give her the sums mentioned. He is also physically disabled, and needs someone to run menial errands for him which are physical in nature.
  • An older ladies is compromised verbally by her child, with whom she lives. She is apprehensive for her security, however does not report him, especially in view of the family tie that ties them and her dependence on her child for her health and well being.

School

  • A young man who does not coordinate or identify with the sexual stereotypes is routinely called a “fag” by certain students in the cafeteria and the rec center. Different students begin to overlook him and he experiences alienation and seclusion. He searches for each conceivable method to maintain a strategic distance from these spots.
  • A Black youth is the objective of rehashed racist abuse by a gathering of young school students. He doesn’t have an inkling how to respond, begins receding into himself and experiences issues concentrating, which has negative ramifications for his school results and his prosperity.
  • A young lady with a mental inability much of the time has her tuque, umbrella or boots stolen on the school transport. She frequently cries during the trek and has assaults before going to class.
  • A child with autism spectrum disorder is regularly trailed by a gathering of students who impersonate and fake him. The understudy being referred to ends up anguished.
  • A trio of students consistently coerce another student in school to give them his lunch. The understudy being referred to does not report the circumstance, dreading retaliations.
  • False bits of gossip on the sexual conduct of an adolescent young lady are spread at school and via web-based networking media. The young lady feels mortified. She never again needs to go to this school and is regularly missing without approval.
  • A juvenile young lady declares that her sweetheart was “stolen” by another young lady and sets her entire group against her.

Sports environment

  • At the field, a mentor always affronts and compromises a youthful referee during a hockey match-up. A few guardians and parents pursue his model and include start denigrating and insulting the referee and question his decisions. The youthful referee turns out to be progressively anxious and reluctant.
  • Maligning graffiti consistently shows up on the storage of a gay competitor. She doesn’t feel acknowledged by her partners and feels alone, which induces her to relinquish preparing and rivalry.
  • At whatever point their groups contend with one another, a basketball player pushes a rival and takes steps to ambush him off the court. The focused on player is concerned for his well being.
  • A soccer mentor in every case openly embarrasses a similar player to get more prominent endeavors from her. The competitor is humiliated to show up before her colleagues.

Work

  • A contractor feels scared, in light of the fact that he gets calls and dangers from a competitor who needs him to pull back from a call for tenders.
  • A patient specialist from an ethnocultural minority works in a seniors’ habitation. She is consistently the objective of disagreeable remarks by occupants, which instill a sense of fear and affects her confidence and professional relationships.
  • The associates of an older worker consistently propose that it’s the ideal opportunity for her to resign, which makes her accept that her abilities are being questioned. She accordingly starts avoiding collaboration and interactions with her colleagues and never again steps up to the plate.

Neighbourhood

  • A neighbor normally insults the individuals from a family who as of late moved into the area and vandalizes their property in light of their ethnocultural background. The family doesn’t feel welcome and the circumstance is upsetting for every one of its members The guardians inquire as to whether they should move once more.
  • In a rental structure, a neighbor continually threatens the guardians of a medically autistic kid that he will get them evicted if their son continues making noise. The guardians dread he will accomplish his aim and the circumstance makes them anxious, particularly since their youngster has an extraordinary requirement for peace and stability.

Raghavan Committee Report

The Raghavan Committee was set by the Human Resource Development ministry on the direction of the Supreme Court of India and it submitted its report in 2007.

Examples of ragging

  • Any demonstration that averts, upsets or irritates the academic activity of an understudy ought to be considered within the academics related part of ragging; comparatively, misusing power to force a junior student to finish the academic tasks relegated to an individual or a gathering of seniors is additionally a part of academics related ragging pervasive in numerous foundations, especially in professional institutions of medicine.
    This was in retaliation to the prevalent practise in medical institutions around the country to get your academic work done by junior students and coerce them to complete the work assigned to you by making them fear punishment in the form of mental or physical violence. Although this practise is not limited to medical institutions, that is where it is most prevalent.
  • Any form of financial coercion or extortion or forcing a junior student to pay for something or use him/her as a source of money is to be considered ragging as well. It is often the practise in institutions to make juniors pay for certain goods or to coerce them into lending money, this is to be considered ragging too.
  • Any act of physical violence, sexual abuse, homosexual assaults, stripping, forcing obscene and lewd acts, gestures, causing bodily harm or any other danger to health or person can be put in the category of ragging with criminal intention. This is the most intense form of ragging and is to be considered criminal behaviour on the part of the perpetrator of such an act.
  • Any demonstration or maltreatment by expressed words, emails, snail-sends, open abuse ought to be considered with in the psychological parts of ragging. This viewpoint would likewise incorporate determining sadistic delight, vicarious or twisted rush from effectively or inactively taking part in putting down other people; the absence of reading ‘freshers’ as an introduction to their admission to advanced education and life in hostels additionally can be attributed as a psychological part of ragging – adapting aptitudes in communication with seniors or outsiders can be conferred by guardians also. Any demonstration that influences the mental wellbeing and self-assurance of understudies likewise can be portrayed as far as the psychological part of ragging.

Observations of the committee

Inaction of College administrations

The committee studies hundreds of cases and incidents of ragging as part of its deliberations, and not even in one of the instances, had the college authorities approached the police or local authorities even in the most extreme of cases which involved bodily harm or death of a student. In most cases, the complaint was filed by the parents of the victim and there was no involvement of the college authorities. 

Overall, after hearing the testimony of various parents and students, the committee observed that the response of colleges to cases of ragging has been dismal, prompt action has not been taken and no attempt has been made, in any incident whatsoever, to approach the law and order machinery to seek justice for the victims and punish the wrongdoer.

The committee observes that there is a pertinent need to make colleges more accountable for the acts of ragging that take place inside them and make them more sensitized to the issue of ragging.

Lack of Civil Society initiatives

The committee also observed that there were little to no initiatives taken up by the wider society to increase the awareness about ragging. Societal indifference is prevalent in India as there is a general view among people that ragging is just a part of college. Even when extreme cases come to light, in which students lose their lives or commit suicide, society still remains complacent to the menace that is ragging.

During the research, the committee could not come across more than 2 or 3 NGO’s which were dedicated to addressing the problem of ragging and spread awareness about it among the General public.

The committee observes that without enough societal involvement, educational institutions alone cannot rid the higher education system of the menace of ragging. There needs to be a paradigm shift in the thinking of people when it comes to ragging. Rather than seeing it as a sort of ‘rite of passage’ to get through university, it should be seen as a completely unacceptable practices which should be severely punished and discouraged in society.

Rise of off campus incidents

The committee observed that in recent years, due to the expansion of capacity in colleges, especially engineering colleges, has led to the rise of off campus lodgings for students. A lot of severe and heinous forms of ragging occur in these off campus hostels, where there is no external authority regulating behaviour. These lodgings are unknown both to the college administrations as well as the local police.

The colleges do not think that it is their responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students who don’t reside in campus, and this allows for a lot of ragging which goes unpunished and unreported.

The committee observes that it is of no material whether a person resides in campus or not. Authorities, both the college administration as well as the local police hold as much responsibility towards a student staying off campus as one staying in it, and it holds the colleges accountable for any act of ragging, regardless of where and in what capacity it occurs.

The use of technology

The committee observes that a lot of incidents of ragging are prevented in college campuses because of the communication facilitated by mobile phones. Students use their mobile phones to call someone for help, maybe a peer, a friend or even family. 

The use of  phones can also allow students to utilize the helpline (discussed earlier) against ragging and therefore get prompt redressal and justice for the wrong that they have undergone.

The committee asserts that the banning of phones in various institutions, on account of it being a distraction and a nuisance, is not practical and is a bit far fetched.

The committee wants to allow the use of mobile phones so as to allow students to communicate and seek help for whatever it may be that they are going through.

Need for counselling

The committee observed that there is a complete lack of professional counsellors in higher education institutions, which leads to students going unprepared into an alien social scenarios and often finding themselves lost and becoming a victim of violent behaviour or bullying and ragging.

There needs to be professional counselling at the start of every academic session to help freshers initiate into a new social environment, and arm them with some tactics to face any potential ragging they might experience and what steps to take if they do.

Counselling is not just for victims or potential victims but also for potential or repeat raggers. If a person is a known ragger and has already been punished before, he should receive consistent counselling to dissuade him from his behaviour.

Teachers, administrative staff, wardens etc. should also identify potential raggers based on their behavioural tendencies and provide them with the guidance that they need.

Influence of politics and power

It was promptly brought to the notice of the committee that in remote territories, wards of compelling families associated with political parties, local administration, exchange and business, land-owning classes and other power first class enjoyed most disgraceful demonstrations of ragging and escaped without any penalty. The Committee was informed that partners cutting crosswise over areas- institutional specialists, workforce, senior understudies, the administration, the common expert, non-showing staff and so on- can control or avoid ragging through a coordinated exertion. The Committee was likewise informed that even as it should be an aggregate duty, a noteworthy offer of such obligation should lay on the leader of the establishment. The advisory group likewise seen that the specialists of the State and the Central Governments capable for executing and checking the counter ragging arrangements had not carried out their responsibility agreeably.

Lack of co-curricular activities in college

The Committee thinks about that the instructive and academic condition in grounds did not support exercises wherein the understudies can connect with themselves in scholarly, social and physically and socially important interests. Based on the sources of info got at the different hearings, it was seen that in the greater part of the cases ragging occurred because of not connecting with understudies in classes; long interim between progressive classes; absence of co-curricular or sports and other additional curricular exercises; absence of severe usage of participation rules for senior understudies; and absence of observing of the air and the earth at eating ‘joints’ (canteens, cafes, and so on). So, it demonstrates the decree – an ‘inactive personality is the fallen angel’s workshop’. The explanation behind this situation must be found mostly in the declining designation of money related assets to schools and colleges throughout the years bringing about the close nonappearance of booked additional curricular and co-curricular exercises. A few intra-university, between university, intra-college and between college sports and different rivalries have well near vanished. Scholastic exercises have likewise throughout the years stopped to be as demanding and testing to continue student enthusiasm, leaving them with relaxed hours to take part in unwanted exercises.

Pressure to not report

It was brought to the notice of the Committee that it is practically incomprehensible for a junior or a fresher to file a complaint against a ‘ragger’ with the proper experts. We were informed that unrealistic pressure of coercion, intimidation and threats is put on the individuals who are ragged. Most noticeably awful is the predicament of the hostel occupants who can not look for security from any quarter. It was viewed as assessment of practically all the partners that the Committee should devise available resources so as to keep up the anonymity of the ‘ragged’ so suitable and exceptional move ought to be made against the ragger, without risking the identity of the person in question.

In some cases, even colleges and universities dissuaded individuals from reporting an incident that has occurred, this is because colleges want to save face and protect their reputation and image.

Law enforcement mechanism and college authorities have to work together

An enormous number of portrayals and proposals received by the Committee have drawn our consideration that if law enforcement agencies are not intimately connected to the local college authorities, it is hard to contain the ever increasing number of coercive forms of ragging that are developing. It was additionally again brought to the notice of the Committee that the types of ragging recorded by the UGC Committee in 1999 have progressed toward becoming ‘outdated’ or ‘dated’ in light of the fact that incredibly foul, most cruel and unprintable types of ragging are being employed nowadays. In one of the outrageous cases that the committee received from Kerala (from one Shri TVK Warrier of Palakkad), it was fought that police.

officials ought to be posted as wardens! The anguish at the deteriorating and saddening situation is justifiable because ragging has now accepted unreasonable, perverse forms – physical ambushes, unjust control, utilization of criminal power, extortion, terrorizing and disavowal of fundamental human rights. It was proposed to the Committee that the proposals of the UGC Committee with respect to disciplines or preventive measures have not been actualized and have stayed uniquely on paper – that school functionaries consider ragging as a non-scholarly issue and along these lines did not get included either because of apathy or because of an absence of responsibility. 

It was suggested for the benefit of the Kerala Private College Managements Association that the Head of the College or University Department ought to be “bound by law to make a move if a criminal offense is committed against the students” who cloth. It was called attention to that Heads of establishments are hesitant to act “dreading the politically based student associations”, in light of the fact that “often  the miscreants are supported by one or the other student organizations”. A few guardians have proposed that Wardens and Heads of Institutions ought to be considered responsible for their inability to control rowdy conduct on the part of the students.

Increased parent teacher interaction is needed

The Committee considered for discussion the plausibility of amending  the Indian Penal Code so as to accommodate the offense of Ragging and discipline thereof. As indicated by section 40 of the Indian Penal Code, subject to special cases set out in statements 2 and 3 of that section, “offense” signifies a thing made culpable under that Code. Taking into account that the senior school leaving age is 18 years, both the ‘freshers’ and the senior students ragging them are adults. From the different records of how ragging happens, what prompts ragging, the expectation of the individuals who submit ragging, the injury endured by its exploited people, the attractive quality of its counteractive action and so forth., the Committee is fulfilled that ragging fits the depiction of an offense with multiple ingredients.

Debate on the meaning of ragging and how it breeds an atmosphere of fear

Literature on ragging tells us that it is used as a sort of ritualistic practices to initiate someone into a new social group. This is known as ‘hazing’ In the United States of America and Canada. It usually involved making someone do something humiliating, embarrassing or denigrating and often meaningless as a sort of pass to gain entry and make acquaintances with a new group of people who have more power than you and are higher in the social ladder (mainly due to their seniority). This practise is known as fagging or ragging in Britain and its commonwealth.

It is mischaracterized as a sort of good natured, collaborative activity which breeds loyalty and camaraderie but in actuality, according to the committee, it violates the dignity of an individual and also their fundamental human rights. The biggest violators of and abusers of human rights are students of engineering, medical and military colleges. Students in these universities have been allowed to run scot-free both by the college authorities as well as the law enforcement machinery. This complacency of the system as well as the general public and wider society has led to children suffering tremendous tragedies and suffering, be it physical or mental, and have regularly lost their lives.

The committee instead came up with an alternate definition:

“Ragging is an act of aggression committed by an individual or a group of individuals over another individual or a group of individuals where the former, by virtue of their being senior to the latter, somehow gets the authority and audacity to commit the act and the latter, by virtue of their being new to the institution, are automatic victims.”

The committee disregard seniority as a valid measure of authority and regards all students as equal in their stature and power. Therefore, seniors in any institution have no authority of any sort over any of their juniors.

The committee also asserts that ragging continues and flourishes because there is a culture of fear which as developed around it. For so many years, students have been allowed to do as they please with their juniors, which often causes great harm to them, that any new students coming in to these institutions are conditioned to believe that they have to be subject to it to and that the best way to survive it is to do as your oppressors say and be devotedly obedient.

This culture of fear also protects the criminals, who know that they have instilled enough fear in their juniors to make them refrain from reporting the crime to the relevant authorities, and therefore children suffer in silence with no support from those who are meant to protect them.

Study of State Laws on Ragging

Definitions by various State Law

Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1999:

“Display or disorderly conduct, doing of any act which causes or is likely to cause physical or psychological harm or raise apprehension or fear or shame or embarrassment to a student in any educational institution.”

Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1998:

“Teasing, abusing or causing hurt or asking students to do an act which he is unwilling to do.”

Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1997

“Ragging means display of raucous, rowdy or disorderly conduct, doing any act, which causes or is likely to cause physical or psychological harm or raise apprehension or fear or shame or embarrassment to a student in any educational institution and includes teasing, abusing of, playing practical jokes on or causing hurt to, such students; or asking the student to do any act or perform something, which such student will not, in the ordinary course, willingly do.”

The West Bengal Prohibition of Ragging in Educational Institutions Act, 2000

“Ragging means doing of any act, which causes or is likely to cause, any physical, psychological or physiological harm or apprehension or shame or embarrassment to a student and includes teasing or abusing of, playing practical jokes on, or causing hurt to, any student, or asking any student to do any act, or perform anything, which he would not, in the ordinary course, be willing to do or perform.”

Assam Prohibition of Ragging Bill, 1998

“Ragging means either display of noisy or disorderly conduct or doing of any act which causes or is likely to cause social, physical or psychological harm or raise apprehension or fear or shame or embarrassment to any student in any educational institution and includes teasing, abusing of, playing practical jokes on or causing hurt to, such students; or asking the student to do any act or perform something which such student will not, in the ordinary course, willingly do.”

Goa Prohibition of Ragging Bill, 2006

“Ragging means display of disorderly conduct, doing any act, which causes or is likely to cause physical or psychological harm or raise apprehension or fear or shame or embarrassment to a student in any educational institution and includes teasing, abusing , threatening or playing practical jokes on, or causing hurt to, such students; or asking a student to do any act or perform something, which such student will not, in the ordinary course, willingly do.”

The committee observed that in none of the state law was there a mention of the sexual aspect of ragging which goes on in institutions. Recently, these cases have ramped up in number, where both males and females are made to strip or to expose private parts and in extreme cases they are also coerced to perform sexual acts.

The law also needs to incorporate the changing face of ragging in the country. Ragging has evolved from menial pranks and meaningless, harmless and non violent acts into serious offences involving crimes like sexual assault, criminal intimidation, homicide etc.

The law needs to realize that ragging is no longer a nuisance or an irritant, it is an ever growing and expanding menace which is destroying higher education in this country and harming the growth and development of college-going students.

Recommendations of the Committee

  1. Need for strong and uniform ragging law.
    The various state laws that exist around the country contain various aspects of ragging but are inadequate and incomplete on their own. These various state laws as well as the recommendations made by the committee and other authorities need to be incorporated into one comprehensive law which governs all aspects related to ragging.
    This will decrease ambiguity as to what actually constitutes ragging  and lay out one uniform procedure of investigation and punishment to pertain to all higher educational institutions.
    The purpose of this law will not just be to incorporate all the laws related to ragging but to also strengthen these laws and make them more concrete, exhaustive, expansive and easier to follow.
  2. Surprise checks and spontaneous anonymous investigations should be carried out to regulate ragging and encourage students to report incidents.
    The onus is on the college authorities to conduct regular checks and surveys into the situation of ragging not just in the classroom but in the hostels as well, both on and off campus. The colleges should also conduct surveys where they should regard junior students as respondents with a guarantee of anonymity. This will encourage students to get past fears of retribution by their seniors in case they report an incident and seek redressal for any wrong they may have been subjected to.
  3. Setting up of anti-ragging cells at central, state and within the college as well.
    There needs to be a hierarchy of authorities at play to make the system more comprehensive and efficient. This hierarchy should be mutually dependant but also keep each other in check. At the lowest level, there should be an institution based Anti Ragging cell. This should consist of members of the faculty, the Head of the Institution, the Hostel wardens etc. their duties and aims should be laid out concretely. They should be directly answerable to a state level anti ragging cell. The state level cell will check the excesses or the inaction of college authorities clamping down on ragging. If the State Level cell finds that the college is suppressing cases of ragging, not taking appropriate action against, discouraging or coercing students to not report incidents, or just generally showing a lacklustre attitude towards eradicating ragging, then the state committee can take action against the college authorities and initiate departmental action on them. They can also report matters to the national level committee as well as the UGC for further action like cutting down on financial benefits, aids and grants for the institution in question.
    Such a network of hierarchical institutions will create a web of accountability which is essential in a society where every stakeholder in higher education is complacent about the dangers of ragging and ragging related activities.
  4. A new section should be added to the IPC against ragging.
    The Committee prescribes that as opposed to exposing every occurrence of ragging to an alternate section under different areas of the Indian Penal Code, another segment ought to be added to the IPC, making ragging a culpable offense on the relationship of section 498A managing cruelty towards women (against dowry related episodes). It is clarified that ragging is an offense with a variety of fixings, every one of which establishes an offense culpable under the current arrangements of the Indian Penal Code. We further prescribe that the Indian Evidence Act ought to likewise be appropriately corrected on the relationship of area 113A of that Act, to move the burden of proof on those blamed for ragging.
    The committee recommends that there be a comprehensive section which incorporates all the various essentials and requisites of an act to be considered ragging. The offences to be considered are abetment to ragging, criminal conspiracy to rag, assault as well as sexual offences or even unnatural offences, extortion, criminal trespass, unlawful assembly and rioting while ragging, injury to the body, causing hurt or grievous hurt, public nuisance created during ragging, violation of decency and morals through ragging, wrongful restraint, wrongful confinement, use of criminal force, offences against property, criminal intimidation. Any act which commits or attempts to commit any of these wrongs is to be appropriately punished for it.
  5. Recommendations as to the procedure of investigation.
    The Committee regards the autonomy of academic institutions and accepts that to the degree potential episodes of ragging of ‘freshers’ by seniors ought to be managed under the pervasive laws or statutes and the methodology recommended thereunder or under the arrangements of the important State law. In any case, where the person in question or his/her parent/watchman isn’t happy with the move made by the Head of the institution or by other institutional authorities, or where the Head of the institution is of the feeling that the occurrence should be so revealed, it must be obligatory for the institution to document a First Information Report with the neighborhood police authorities.

Such reports ought to likewise be made to the civil Authorities, (for example, Sub Divisional Magistrate, Deputy Commissioner or District Magistrate), the higher Police Authorities (Commissioner or Superintendent of Police or his Deputies) and furthermore to the media for more extensive spread. In episodes of extraordinary repercussions or grave seriousness, such reports ought to likewise be made to the suitable State Authorities. Media reports may now and again arouse the enthusiasm of civil society activists and Non Government Organizations, whose inclusion in handling episodes of ragging or the avoidance of such occurrences must be invited and not viewed as any prevention.

Colleges and State or Central Governments ought to likewise urge institutional authorities to share data in regard of ragging, instead of hiding any episode where no one will think to look; we accept that revealing data about occurrences of ragging adds to the counteractive action and repeat of such occurrences, while endeavors to conceal just outcome in progressively unreported episodes occurring and matters gaining out of power for the authorities. 

The Committee expects the sub-divisional, locale and divisional or State level authorities additionally to share data as opposed to preventing access to data for the media and the civil society.

Duties of the UGC

At the National level, we prescribe that the University Grants Commission ought to be in charge of planning and checking the counter ragging movement throughout the country and ought to establish a Board for Coordination comprising of the accompanying: 

  • Representative of the AICTE,
  • Representative of the IITs,
  • Representative of the NITs,
  • Representative of the IIMs,
  • Representative of the MCI, 
  • representative of the DCI, 
  • Representative of the NCI,
  • Representative of the ICAR ,
  • Representative of the Veterinary Council,

and such different representatives from other areas of advanced education that are not spoken to in the institutions referenced previously.

The Committee has effectively communicated its regret that even though the Apex court in the country came up with comprehensive guidelines sic years previously, neither the UGC nor any of the statutory experts in the various areas of advanced education have focused their attention in managing the hazard of ragging. 

The UGC ought to establish an institutional instrument – for example, a Cell inside the Commission to give secretarial help to gathering of data and checking. There ought to be no postponement on this record in any capacity whatsoever, the Cell ought to be cut out of its current secretariat and should organize with the State level and University level Committees for successful execution of hostile to ragging measures. 

The UGC and the other statutory experts ought to mediate any place their current rules or scholastic guidelines come in the method for execution of the recommendations being made in this report.

The Commission and the other subsidizing bodies ought to likewise give satisfactory assets to universities and colleges for completing the order of controlling occurrences of ragging.

It should arrange with the other statutory experts (AICTE, MCI, DCI, ICAR, NCTE, NCI and so forth) so opportune guidelines are sent by such specialists for empowering or ordering institutions to anticipate and deny ragging just as to make a move against institutions that endure or don’t report occurrences of ragging. The UGC and the other financing organizations ought to likewise work out an instrument of giving awards in-help where institutions effectively avert events of ragging or where stern action is taken by institutions against ragging episodes.

  1. Setup of toll-free helpline for ragging victims.
    The committee prescribes that at the national level, the UGC should support a toll-free Helpline which could be accessed by students in trouble or danger due to or from ragging related occurrences. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology ought to encourage the foundation, framework and activity of the proposed Helpline. Any trouble message ought to be at the same time transferred to the Head of the Institution, superintendent or official of the Hostels, District specialists including the Superintendent of Police,  ought to be well connected to their surroundings and local area so that the media and the residents can access the are easily. A certifiable message of action by the UGC should make it required for the Head of the foundation and common specialists to start activity on the lines previously proposed by the committee.
  2. NCERT, SCERT school books must contain a chapter on the dangers and excesses of ragging.
    It was recently made mandatory in the NCERT and SCERT curriculums to include a subject on environmental studies. In a similar fashion, there needs to be a subject about the dangers of ragging and bullying, and the ethical and moral problems related to it. From an early age, children should be armed with the ethical knowledge to dissuade them from engaging in such activities and should also be aware of the steps they can take if they ever face such a situation in real life.
    Our education system is based on rote learning, and that is where the problem lies. Moral education and ethical dilemmas should also be an integral part of the school curriculum, so that along with academic knowledge, children also develop their individual moral barometers, and be able to separate right from wrong from an early age.
  3. Psychological counseling on anti-ragging and human rights at senior secondary level.

The committee prescribes that each institution ought to connect with or look for the help of professional advisors or counsellors at the season of admissions to direct ‘freshers’ so as to set them up for the life ahead, especially for changing in accordance with the life in lodgings. The Committee feels that getting students ready for college life will empower them to adapt to the worries of the heretofore obscure life in university.  Professional Counsellors ought to brought in to counsel potential raggers likewise, who ought to be distinguished by the institutional specialists, showing personnel and non-educating workers.
The committee additionally suggests that the UGC and other financing bodies must make special arrangements and allocate funds to empower institutions to draw in advocates, advisors, counsellors and mental health experts and try to eradicate the sense of fear among freshers and help them build confidence.

Colleges are required to organize session between seniors and juniors which help them cooperate and interact better.
The committee observed that a lot of ragging takes place off-campus and there is no restriction or measures against it as college administrations are not concerned with any act which takes place off campus. Therefore, the committee also took measures to curb which takes place outside the campus.

The hostels or private guest houses which house college students must be registered in the local police station, and the management and the college administration is to be jointly held responsible for any untoward incident that happens. The Committee prescribes that in the light of the expanding number of private industrially overseen lodges or hostels outside campuses, such hostels and management must be enrolled with the local police specialists and authorization to begin such hostels or registering them with local authorities which should be overseen  by the Heads of instructive organizations. 

It ought to be obligatory for both local police, local organization also the institutional experts to guarantee vigil and ensure the safety and wellbeing of the students residing in these private hostels and there should be prompt action taken in case of any instance of ragging related activity. Managements of such private hostels is obligated to reporting of instances of ragging in such premises and strict action will be taken against these managements if they show complacency or inaction when it comes to ragging. Local experts just as the institutional heads ought to be in charge of activity in case of ragging in such premises, similarly as they would be for occurrences inside campuses. 

The Committee likewise suggests that other than enrolling private hostels as expressed over, the towns or urban areas where educational institutions are found ought to be allotted as a collection of different sectors among employees, as is being finished by certain establishments, so they could keep up vigil in their prescribed areas and report any episodes of ragging outside campuses.

Are Bullying Laws effective

Bullying Statistics

The Teacher Foundation recently conducted a survey which found shocking results related to Bullying in schools. Around 47 percent of school-going children between Classes 4 and 8 confessed to having been bullied by their peers. This has been uncovered in an investigation directed by The Teacher Foundation (TTF) to comprehend the social and emotional learning status of school kids the country over. The survey was carried out during a time period of six years, and included instructors and students from government and non-public schools.

While students communicated that they were bullied on grounds, some even conceded being associated with bullying others. According to the report, around 26 percent students in Classes 4-8 confessed to ridiculing or bullying other youngsters. The figure remained at 22% in Classes 9-12.

The review even featured the ‘feeling left out’ factor. that children experience at this age. Around 23 percent students in Classes 4-8 students communicated that they felt left out during mid-day breaks or the play hour. This figure was 14 percent in Classes 9-12.

The study featured that “students of both age groups showed some trouble managing peers not quite the same as them, and making companions in general.”The study is likewise an Indian Social and Emotional Learning Framework (ISELF) for schools and instruction foundations the country over. This six-year-long concentrated research required more than 3,300 students and 850 instructors at 15 unique areas and covering 90 schools, incorporating a couple of regions in Karnataka.

These figures show that almost 50% of children our bullied at some stage in their school life. This is a worrying figure, as many consider bullying an outlying, rare phenomenon in school environments, but to the school going children who actually experience it, it can often be the norm and a common occurrence.

We need to reassess our priorities as a society. Have our educational institution completely failed in guaranteeing the safety and wellbeing of our children? Are we ready to send our children into hostile environments which can be immensely damaging to them? These are pertinent questions which still remain to be answered.

Ragging Statistics

Recently, in reply to a query, the UGC released the statistics for incidents of ragging in HIgher Educational Institutions in the country and the results were staggering.
Instances of ragging on college and college grounds enrolled an untouched high in 2017 with institutions announcing 889 cases.

The number is an expansion of 70% over last year’s figure of 515. Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 138 cases- up from 93 a year ago- trailed by Madhya Pradesh with 100, up from 55 a year ago.

As far as the quantity of cases announced from individual institutions since 2012, Banaras Hindu University beat the rundown with 36 cases, trailed by MP’s Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology that enrolled 31 cases. West Bengal additionally enrolled an expansion from 50 to 92 cases of ragging in 2017.

These are worrying signs for students across the country. For more than a decade, there has been a concerted effort on the part of the legislating authorities to formalize, concretize and expand the law regarding ragging and how to deal with. 

Despite of that, this sudden spike in ragging shows that the system is once again turning complacent towards ragging and related activities.

Moreover, out of 872 cases in 2017, only 390 of those students were punished, which is less than half.

This goes directly against the Raghavan Committee recommendations which recommended that even the smallest and most menial of cases should not go unpunished if we are to successfully deter students from engaging in ragging. 

It also shows that the college authorities are not showing enough seriousness when it comes to prosecuting and punishing offenders, and there is widespread inaction and apathy towards cases of ragging.

Implementation Problem

Till a few years ago, there was not a sufficiently comprehensive law regarding ragging. There were individual state laws which were ambiguous and incomplete and there was no uniform process of investigating ragging incidents as well.

Over the last 15 years, with the help of the Raghavan Committee Guidelines, as well as the monumental UGC Circular in 2009 for curbing the menace of ragging i n higher educational institutions, we have slowly but surely moved towards a comprehensive legal framework to deal with cases of ragging.

Now, we can say that we have enough legislation to successfully prosecute ragging without any ambiguity.

But the problem seems to be lifting the words of law off the paper and putting it into practise in real life. Although we have sufficient legislation, we have not succeeded in providing these provisions to people and their individual experiences.

Ragging still remains a rampant problem, especially in medical and engineering colleges, and gruesome and saddening cases of ragging come out of these institutions on a regular basis.

This problem of implementation reveals that there is a lack of will among these institutions to clamp down on ragging which is helped by the fact that there is societal complacency and apathy regarding ragging.

This harks back to the earlier point that their needs to be a rise in the collective societal conscience, if we are serious about eliminating ragging from the experience of college-going students.

Government Helpline

Every police department now has a dedicated cyber crime cell which is devoted to catching and prosecuting online criminals who post derogatory, compromising or defamatory messages online or hack into your account and subsume your identity.

You can find your local district helpline number here, as well as the address and email id of the relevant authorities.

How to prevent bullying

Some suggestions are:

  • Implementing the guidelines of Raghavan Committee.

The findings and suggestions of the Raghavan Committee are a set of exhaustive solution which have practical applicability and are pragmatic and realistic in nature. But implementing this substantial document into the daily lives of a student is another matter altogether. Implementing the guidelines on the ground, however, is of utmost importance and must be achieved if we are to eliminate the evil of ragging in our country.

  • Holding college and school administrations and local authorities responsible and increasing accountability.
    College administrations have for decades suppressed cases of ragging, neglected them and shown complacency and inaction, and even coerced students to not report cases of ragging.
    The current state of ragging exists because there has been a collective failure from all stakeholders to mitigate and manage the growth of this menace. Be it the local magisterial and executive authorities, the college administrations, and even the parents of children, every stakeholder has fallen sort of doing their obligation to prevent bullying and ragging. 

Schools need to be even more careful, as they often deal with bullying in children at a very young age. If a child goes through something truly traumatic at a very young age, it affects him in serious ways mentally. He may develop an inferiority complex, or another mental disability or illness which may last for the child’s lifetime. Therefore, the school has immense responsibility when it comes to cases of bullying to take strict action and react swiftly.

  • Ensuring mental health experts and counsellors are present across schools and campuses.
    Children often don’t receive the care and support that they need when they are subjected to ragging. The presence of counsellors in campuses is of utmost pertinence to provide kids with the immediate emotional and psychological help to get over the trauma that they have faced. Counsellors also work as a preventive measure against students who show violent behaviour regularly or are repeat offenders of ragging.
    Mental health experts and general counsellors in schools are of great importance as children are not as emotionally mature as adults, and violent behaviour can affect them much more seriously.
  • Proper redressal mechanisms have to be in place.
    Students often find themselves feeling alienated and without any means for seeking help, either because they have a fear of bodily or mental harm in case they report to the relevant authorities, or because the administration neglects cases of ragging and does not act sufficiently to give redressal.
    There needs to be a definite, concrete process of investigation against cases of ragging which must be strictly implemented by educational institutions and overseen by a systematic hierarchy of authorities with checks and balances at every level.
  • Strict penalties and punishment.
    Ragging is sometimes committed under a mask of having an “introduction” or interaction with seniors and in actuality, is just the same as ragging. College authorities should recognize that all forms of ragging are unacceptable and have no merits whatsoever. To dissuade ragging, strict sanction should be imposed on students. Punishments should be proportionate and progressive, but even the smallest and most menial of offences should be appropriately sanctioned so as to dissuade students from engaging in any form of ragging whatsoever.
    Punishments may range from imposition of fines, to suspension from attending classes and in extreme cases rustication or even expulsion from the institutions. This punishment, of course, would be separate from the criminal proceedings which would be initiated if a student is found in violation of any section of the Indian Penal Code.
  • Focus on prevention rather than redressal, incorporating moral values.
    To completely eradicate the menace of ragging from Higher Education, there needs to be a change at the societal level.
    This will come when there is a shift in the attitude towards ragging and bullying. There needs to be a realization that radical change only occurs when a society collectively demands it and is conscience of its need. Eradicating ragging and bullying cannot solely be left up to the college administrations or the governmental authorities, there needs to be collective societal involvement which would catalyze the much needed change. This change can be brought about through incorporating moral and value based education, conducting sensitization drives among students of all ages, and spreading awareness among the students about the ethical consequences of their acts. This will contribute to reducing the number of cases related to ragging and bullying. Deterring people from engaging in such acts cannot arise solely out of putting sanction or having strict punishments. There also needs to be an awakening of moral consciousness among students, where they do not engage in acts of ragging or bullying by virtue of their own good conscience and ethical judgement.
    This is absolutely necessary if people want to eradicate this menace from society.
  • Involvement of parents in the anti-bullying and anti-ragging programs of institutions
    Parents are one of the primary stakeholders in our education systems. There needs to be positive coordination between the parents, the school or college administration and the students. The cohesive effort of all three of these primary stakeholders can be instrumental in preventing cases of ragging and bullying. Parents should constantly be in touch with the authorities and immediately report any incident that they come across. They also should follow up after the incident and demand to be notified about the action taken by the college administration.

Bullying Legal Cases

Pon Navarasu case

The facts prompting the present case are that on 06.11.1996 at about 2.00 p.m. the accused-John David [first year senior medical student of Muthiah Medical College, Annamalai Nagar] removed Navarasu-deceased [first year junior medical student of Muthiah Medical College, Annamalai Nagar] and exposed him to serious ragging in Room No. 319 of KRM Hostel of the college and when the junior student did not obey and resisted the accused, accused caused head damage to the deceased and when Navarasu-deceased was lying on the ground oblivious, the accused cut off his head and limbs with the assistance of stainless steel knives and expelled his gold ring, watch and gold chain and caused his demise. In the wake of doing such abhorrent act and with the expectation of concealing the proof and furthermore to demonstrate his alibi he put the head and the gold articles of Navarasu-deceased in a zip sack and tossed it into channel water close to the lodging and burnt the bloodstained garments of the deceased on the terrace of the hostel and took the torso in a bag alongside the limbs in a train to Madras and tossed the limbs in a waterway when the train crossed Cuddalore and put the torso in a transport at Tambaram.

The police received from different people including students of the college pointing the guilt towards the accused, who was likewise found missing from the college premises from 12-14.11.1996. On 14.11.1996 the accused surrendered himself before the Judicial Magistrate, Mannargudi.

The message of his surrender was passed on to the Annamalai Nagar PS,and he was held in police authority for five days from 18.11.1996. On 19.11.1996 at about 1.30 a.m. the accused gave a confessional proclamation expressing that he has put the severed The prosecution so as to build up the guilt of the charged analyzed a few witnesses and displayed various records including logical reports.

From that point, the denounced was analyzed under Section 313 Cr.P.C. to empower him to clarify the conditions existing against him. In the wake of hearing contentions progressed by the gatherings, the Principal Sessions Judge, Cuddalore by its judgment dated 11.03.1998 indicted the charged. Head Sessions Judge, Cuddalore found that there are sufficient conditional evidence and thought process with respect to the charged for carrying out such a wrongdoing and held the blamed/respondent guilty under Sections 302, 201, 364 and 342 IPC and indicted and condemned him to experience imprisonment for life under sections 302 and 364 IPC, rigorous imprisonment for one year under Section 342 IPC, and rigorous imprisonment for seven years and to pay a fine of rupees one lakh and in default to experience thorough imprisonment for twenty one months under Section 201 IPC.

It was additionally requested that the sentences would run successively.head of the deceased in the pontoon channel inside the University campus.

After conviction, the accused appealed in the Madras High Court against the judgement. The High Court overturned the decision taken by the sessions court and acquitted the accused. The court found that the case was not proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt and hence freed the accused from jail.

In response to this, the Tamil Nadu government appealed to the Supreme Court, which overturned the High Court decision and upheld the original decision taken by the Sessions Court.

John David was put back in jail in 2011 and is currently serving his sentence in jail.

Aman Kachroo case

Aman Kachroo was a 19 year old first-year student of Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical  College in Tanda in Himachal Pradesh. A group of seniors arrived at his hostel in a drunken state and ordered some juniors, including the victim to make a file and they started ragging the juniors. The altercation soon turned violent and the seniors started beating up the juniors. Aman Kachroo’s head was bashed against a wall and he was severely injured.

The next day, he was admitted into a hospital, where his condition deteriorated and he died of severe brain hemorrhage.

Ajay Verma, Naveen Verma, Abhinav Verma and Mukul Sharma were charged  under Section 204 II (Culpable Homicide not amounting to murder), 452 (house trespass after preparation for hurt, wrongful restraint or assault), 34 (common intent) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code.

They were found guilty by the Sessions court and sentenced to four years in jail each.

This decision was upheld by the High Court and fine imposed on the accused was increased from Rs 10000 to Rs. 1 lakh.

When the matter reached the Supreme Court, the Apex court studied the matter in detail and laid out new guidelines regarding cases of ragging which have shaped the Anti-ragging law in India in an instrumental way.

The Hon. Supreme Court recognized that the episode including the passing of Aman Kachroo has obviously shown that the formulation and codification of guidelines was not adequate. Thus, the Hon. Court requested that such guidelines must be authorized and put into practise carefully, and corrective ramifications and penal prosecution for the leaders of the foundations/organization of the establishment be initiated, who don’t make convenient strides in the avoidance of ragging and rebuffing the individuals who show inaction and negligent behaviour. Notwithstanding punitive results, departmental enquiries be started against such heads establishments/individuals from the organization/faculty individuals/non-showing staff, who show an impassive or heartless mentality towards protests of ragging.

The Hon. Supreme Court requested that the Principal or Head of the Institution/Department will get an endeavor from each worker of the institution including teaching and non teaching individuals from staff, provisional work utilized in the premises either for running canteens or as watch and ward staff or for cleaning or upkeep of the structures/yards and so forth that he/she would report instantly any instance of ragging which goes to his/her notice. An arrangement will be made in the administration rules for issuing endorsements of appreciation to such individuals from the staff who report ragging which will shape port of their administration record.

The Court also said that the SHO/SP, inside whose jurisdiction a specific institution falls, will be in charge of guaranteeing that no ragging happens on the grounds of the concerned school, and to successfully manage occurrences of ragging, should, any such episodes occur. When a focal database/crisis hotline is made usable then when SHO/SP, inside whose jurisdiction a specific institution falls, is reached by the crisis hotline staff, at that point such SHO/SP will manage the occurrence and coordinate and speak with the crisis hotline staff or potentially the autonomous monitoring organization (discussed under the UGC circular guidelines). This will manufacture certainty and urge individuals to report rates of ragging immediately.

Ajmal PM case

Ajmal, a local of Kannur in Kerala and first year aeronautical student of Sha-Shib College close Yelahanka Air Force base, was admitted to the clinic with 65% burn injuries on March 22. The fire episode happened when he was washing up subsequent to playing tennis in the hostel premises.

Police had recorded an attempt to murder case dependent on the announcement given by Ajmal from his emergency clinic bed on March 22.

Ajmal claimed that three bombed students of a similar college were behind the fire. He advised police that they used to rag him and request cash. He admitted to his family that he was even compelled to take his mom’s gold chain to get money for his tormentors.

He expressed that on March 22, at 9.30 pm, he had gone to the bathroom.

“I smelled thinner and suspected something fishy. So I changed three rooms all of which possessed an aroma like thinner. Feeling that cleaners may have washed the toilets with thinner, I began bathing,” he said. He told police that three students began the fire at the roofless bathroom.

At the point when police enquired students about ragging in their hostel and college, they kept mum.

Chikkajala police wouldn’t remark on whether it was an instance of suicide or murder. “We are yet to discover the reason for the fire,” they said. Ajmal’s body was taken to the place where he grew up on Friday.

Unfortunately, Ajmal’s condition was too critical, and he succumbed to his injuries.

Conclusion

Therefore, the article summarized the various efforts taken up by the Supreme Court of India, the Raghavan Committee, the CBSE and the UGC along with other organizations and individuals towards raising awareness about bullying and ragging and making the law regarding these things more comprehensive and expansive.

It traced the history of the law regarding cases of ragging and how over the years it has been formalized and made stronger and less ambiguous. 

It is also a study into the motivations behind ragging and bullying and what can be done to prevent incidents like this. It elucidates the various types of bullying, the various settings and situations in which a particular type plays out as well as  the rising menace of cyberbullying in the nation.

It summarizes the two major  advances towards legislating action against ragging, which are the UGC Circular of 2009 for curbing the menace of ragging and the Raghavan Committee Guidelines of 2007.

It also lists out some major cases of ragging which shocked the country towards being more aware about the dangers of ragging, and how these cases have shaped action against cases of ragging.

It has also shown how bullying can be prevented and given various examples of bullying which can take place in different professions, workspaces or social scenarios.

Bullying shows no mercy. It can happen anyplace, whenever, and to anyone. In classrooms, on the transport, in the lobby, during lunch, on the play area, during exercise center class, in the washroom, on the PC, school occasions, on phones, or in the network, bullies figure out how to achieve their unfortunate objectives and derive their sadistic pleasure. As bullies conduct is deliberate, forceful, and happens more than once, it includes commanding and overwhelming the person in question. Power makes bullies feel great about themselves and enables them to gain attention from others.

All children are influenced by bullying in some way. Most children don’t bully others and are not victims-but they do play a role. Children who turn away, watch, or partake by verbally condoning bullying are designated “bystanders.” Often times the children don’t understand that they are adding to the issue just by viewing. Numerous bystanders, who don’t successfully support the person in question, are later disturbed by their very own absence of sympathy. Tragically, numerous bystanders are bound to empower the domineering jerk than assisting the person in question, who is being bullied. At the point when students bully it is important for them to have a group of people around and bystanders to encourage and validate them. Notwithstanding, the bystanders have the ability to radically lessen bullying. In the event that the group of spectators demonstrates dissatisfaction, bullies lose their drive. More often than not bullying stops inside ten seconds if an onlooker ventures in to support. At the point when a spectator just stands by and does nothing, it is equivalent to stating bullying is alright. It makes that individual no superior to the harasser.

Most children do not speak up against bullying and are mere bystanders because they fear the bullies and their power, as bullies are often physically adept and exude a sense of power. But children also need to realize that their collective power is much more than an individual bully.

Bullying in schools occurs across the board in all demographics and areas and has been to a great extent disregarded by expert agents. It is frequently a covert issue, however on the off chance that it were put into the setting of social connection, schools could attempt to react to it in profitable ways. Bullying is a social issue that happens in the social condition all in all. The bullies’ animosity happens in social settings in which instructors and guardians are commonly ignorant of the degree of the issue and other children are either hesitant to get involved or just don’t have the foggiest idea how to help. The best thing that should be possible is to spread mindfulness. A multifactorial reaction is ideal, and preventive action is obviously better than emergency the executives.

One way that we as future instructors can by and by assistance to end bullying is by setting up a zero tolerance bullying approach for schools. Tell the students from the earliest starting point of the year that bullying won’t go on without serious consequences and that there will be fitting reliable ramifications for those that take part in it. It might likewise be useful to have study hall exercises managing acknowledgment and contrasts to demonstrate the children that everybody is unique, yet that is the thing that makes each other uncommon. Likewise raising parental mindfulness can be a major advance in the end procedure. Guardians are the greatest effect on their youngster’s life. It is critical to keep guardians refreshed and associated with their scholastic issues, yet their social ones also.

Most schools have a bullying issue. Schools need to make an open strategy against bullying. Children need to realize that the domineering jerk will be rebuffed. Schools can show hostile to bullying conduct through pretending. Schools ought to urge children to know about the spots and approaches to help. They need grown-ups to encourage them to talk facing bad form and that it isn’t squealing however making the wisest decision. Children need to realize that they are not by any means the only one who thinks bullying is hazardous and wrong. Some of the time it just takes one to point out an issue and after that numerous others concur and voice their feelings as well.

Bullying is a major issue that can drastically influence the capacity of students to advance scholastically and socially. An extensive intercession plan that includes all students, guardians, and school staff is required to guarantee that all students can learn in a safe and dread free condition. Our children have the right to have the option to learn in a protected and secure learning condition. It is dependent upon all instructors to give this to them. Bullying and badgering flourish with the widespread silence around the issue and teachers and guardians have the quality and capacity to have any kind of effect.

It has been appropriately said that the end may not generally legitimize the methods. Behind the façade of ‘welcoming’ new students to college, ragging, in fact, is a famous practice wherein the senior students get a reason to disturb their lesser partners, and as a general rule, make them obvious subjects to satisfy their own unreasonable twisted, sadistic joys. Aside from committing grave physical abuse, those appallingsutdents who resort to ragging either build up a fear psychosis that frequents the juniors for the duration of their lives, or more regrettable, quit their college instruction even before it starts. For any student who trudges day and night to verify entrance into a renowned school, ragging can be his or her most awful nightmare, It would not be a distortion to state that, today, ragging has taken the state of a genuine human rights violation with even the most regarded and trained instructive establishments falling prey to it.

Today, ragging may have turned out to be established practise in the Indian educational set up, yet many would be astounded to realize that ragging is initially a western idea. Ragging should have its creation in certain European Universities where seniors played functional jokes at the season of inviting rookies to the institutions. Bit by bit, the act of ragging wound up well known all through the world. Nonetheless, with time, ragging expected disagreeable and destructive meanings and was seriously censured. Today, practically all nations of the world have authorized stern laws that boycott ragging and it has been totally eradicated in nations, for example, Canada and Japan. In any case, unfortunately, India, which acquired ragging as an inheritance from the British Raj, has not had the option to liberate itself from the grip of this barbaric practice. It very well may be stated, with no space for uncertainty, that the most exceedingly awful type of ragging is submitted in India. Infact, as indicated by a survey led by CURE , India and Sri Lanka are the main two nations on the planet where ragging exists.

In conclusion, it can be said that a lot remains to be done to curb cases of bullying and ragging in India and there needs to be a concerted effort not just by people in positions of power but society at large to eradicate this evil which has plagued our education system for decades.

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. […] is a form of dehumanization. It can be practiced verbally, physically, or through online. Despite bullying laws in India, about 42% of children have to be face bullying in school and 37% of children have to face bullying […]

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