NMC Regulations spell out Disciplinary Action for Ragging in Medical Colleges
New Delhi: Aiming at preventing ragging in the medical colleges across India, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has recently specified the disciplinary actions to be taken while dealing with incidents of ragging.
These provisions have been mentioned in the recent regulations titled "Prevention and Prohibition of Ragging in Medical Colleges and Institutions Regulations, 2021."
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that these Regulations have specified the definition of ragging and also the actions that may constitute ragging. NMC, the apex medical education regulatory body mentioned the measures to prohibit and prevent ragging by institutions including the duties and responsibilities of the institutes, measures required to be taken by the medical colleges, issue of migration, transfer or conduct certificates, measures to encourage healthy interaction between freshers and seniors, Sensitisation of institutional employees and staff towards ragging, Institutional committees and related measures, Anti-ragging squad, Student Affairs or Hostel Committee, duties of the universities, etc.
Further, in an entirely separate chapter, NMC has clearly mentioned the ways to deal with incidents of ragging. The Regulations also contain the formats of undertaking by the students, parents, and head of the medical college.
NMC has dedicated an entirely separate chapter to specify the ways to deal with incidents of ragging in medical institutes across the country.
"All matters of discipline within medical college or institution shall be resolved within the campus of such medical college or institution, except those impinging on law and order or breach of peace or public tranquility, which may be dealt with under the penal laws for the time being in force," the apex medical education commission stated in the Regulations.
How to Report Incidents of Ragging:
The Regulations clearly state that "It shall be mandatory for all concerned to report every incident of ragging" and not reporting it even by a fresher "shall be viewed seriously and may amount to abetment of ragging".
As per the Regulations the complaint or report of ragging may be made by a fresher/parent/other student, authorities of the hostel, security personnel or any other staff such as canteen staff, Head of the Institution, faculty member, or members of the Anti-Ragging Squad or Anti-Ragging Committee on surprise checking. Apart from these, direct complaint to the local Police or District Authorities may also be made.
However, NMC has clarified that "In all instances, without exception, the name of the complainant, especially students, unless otherwise permissible, shall be kept confidential."
All the information or complaints related to incidents of ragging shall immediately and simultaneously be conveyed to the Institute Heads (directly or via Control Room or anti-ragging helpline). Further other officials including the members of the Ant-Ragging Squad and Anti-Ragging Committee, hostel warden, security staff and others shall also be simultaneously informed about it.
In order to immediately relay any complaints of ragging to the University, police or district authorities, the medical colleges will keep necessary mechanisms.
Action upon Receiving Complaint:
(1) Immediately after receiving any complaints of ragging the Anti-Ragging Squad or any appropriate authority will conduct an on-the-spot immediate enquiry and submit a report or recommendations to the Head of the Institution.
(2) The Head, after receiving the recommendations will decide if a case under the penal laws is made out after inquiry as specified in regulation 23, proceed to file a First Information Report within twenty-four hours of receipt of such information or recommendation either on his own or through a member of the Anti-Ragging Committee or an official authorized by him in this behalf, with the police and local authorities, under the appropriate penal provisions.
(3) If a parent or student directly files an FIR, the Institute head shall not be absolved of the responsibility of filing a First Information Report.
(4) The Institute head should also inform the concerned affiliated University and also the Nodal Anti-Ragging Authority of the District and NMC.
Institutional inquiry or investigation:
In order to conduct an inquiry regarding any complaints of ragging,
(1) The Institute Head shall constitute a specific committee for investigating any complaints of ragging without waiting for the report of any other authority, even if this is being investigated by the police or local authorities.
(2) The inquiry or investigation shall be conducted thoroughly including on-the-spot or site of the incident in a fair and transparent manner, without any bias or prejudice, upholding the principles of natural justice and giving adequate opportunity to the student or students accused of ragging and other witnesses to place before it the facts, documents and views concerning the incident of ragging, and considering such other relevant information as may be required.
(3) The entire process shall be completed and a report duly submitted within seven days of the information or reporting of the incident of ragging.
(4) The report shall be placed before the Head of the Institution or the Anti-Ragging Committee.
(5) The Anti-Ragging Committee shall examine the report, decide on and recommend further administrative action to the Head of the Institution.
Administrative and Penal Action:
NMC in the recent Regulations have clearly mentioned about what the institutes should do after receiving any complaints of ragging, the role of the anti-ragging committee, broader ingredients which might call for action apart from and most importantly, punitive or disciplinary actions taken against those found guilty of ragging.
"(1) Every medical college or institution shall, after receiving the recommendations of the Anti-Ragging Committee under regulation 23, take necessary administrative action as it may deem fit.
(2) The Anti-Ragging Committee, on accepting the report of the institutional inquiry or investigation by the appropriate committee, shall recommend one or more of the actions provided under sub-regulations(5) and (6) depending on the nature, gravity and seriousness of the guilt established of the act of ragging as given under the provisions of Chapter II with the understanding that the action shall be exemplary and justifiably harsh to act as a deterrent against recurrence of such incidents:
(3) Where the individual person committing or abetting an act of ragging is not identified on the basis of the findings of the institutional inquiry or investigations, and the subsequent recommendations thereof, the medical college or institution thereof shall resort to collective punishment of more than one or a group of persons, as deemed fit, as a deterrent to ensure community pressure on the potential raggers.
(4) The broad ingredients that may call for punitive actions on receipt and approval of the recommendations include but is not limited to––
(i) abetment to ragging;
(ii) criminal conspiracy to ragging;
(iii) unlawful assembly and rioting while ragging;
(iv) public nuisance created during ragging;
(v) violation of decency and morals through ragging;
(vi) physical or psychological humiliation;
(vii) causing injury to body, causing hurt or grievous hurt;
(viii) wrongful restraint;
(ix) wrongful confinement;
(x) use of criminal force;
(xi) assault as well as sexual offences or even unnatural offences;
(xii) extortion in any form;
(xiii) criminal intimidation;
(xiv) criminal trespass;
(xv) offences against property;
(xvi) any other act construed as provided under regulations 3 and 4.
(5) The nature of punitive actions that may be decided shall include the following, but shall not be limited to one or more of these actions that may be imposed, as deemed fit, namely:––
(i) suspension from attending classes and academic privileges;
(ii) withholding or withdrawing scholarship or fellowship and other benefits;
(iii) debarring from appearing in any test or examination or other evaluation process;
(iv) withholding results;
(v) debarring from attending conferences, and other academic programmes;
(vi) debarring from representing the institution in any regional, national or international meet, tournament, youth festival, etc. ;
(vii) suspension or expulsion from the hostel;
(viii) imposition of a fine ranging from twenty-five thousand rupees to one lakh rupees;
(ix) cancellation of admission;
(x) rustication from the medical college or institution for a period ranging from one to four semesters;
(xi) expulsion from the medical colleges or institutions and consequent debarring from admission to any other institution for a specified period.
(6) Without prejudice to the provisions of regulation 8, it shall be mandatory upon the medical college or institution to enter in the Migration Certificate or Transfer Certificate issued to the student as to whether the student has been punished for the offence of committing or abetting ragging, or not, as also whether the student has displayed persistent violent or aggressive behaviour or any inclination to harm others.
(7) Any other measure as directed by Courts of law shall be followed by the medical college or institution.
(8) The Head of the Institution shall follow-up the information regarding the incident of ragging provided under sub-regulation (4) of regulation 22, to the University to which the medical college or institution is affiliated with a report regarding the findings of the institutional level inquiry or investigation and the actions taken thereof."