Chennai: Taking suo motu cognizance of the instances of MBBS ragging at Christian Medical College (CMC) Vellore, the Madras High Court has now directed the institute to submit an action taken report from the college management.
Meanwhile, making its stand clear, CMC has assured the bench on Monday that already the concerned seven accused students have been booked for ragging their juniors and they will be expelled if found guilty in the police inquiry report.
Referring to the news reports, the court asked the institute how such an incident happened at a premiere institute like CMC Vellore. In this regard the HC bench comprising Acting Chief Justice T Raja and Justice D Krishnakumar was quoted noting by Bar and Bench, “Ragging is absolutely prohibited under the law. Then how did this lapse on your side occur? How is it that this was not prevented? The whole world is looking at CMC. Who is responsible for this on part of this administration? You will have to fix accountability. As per news reports, even the warden is said to have been present there.”
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the administration of CMC Vellore had suspended seven senior MBBS students of the institute. This decision was taken by the college authorities on the basis of a preliminary inquiry conducted by a committee after receiving an anonymous complaint on Sunday.
In that letter, an MBBS student belonging to the batch who joined the institute in March 2022 gave detailed description about the instances of ragging. Later, a copy of the letter had been shared on Twitter as well.
The letter, a copy of which was shared on Twitter, claimed that the first-year MBBS students of the Institute were being subjected to ragging on a daily basis. It includes physical abuse of all kinds, along with horrifying acts of sexual assault, psychological abuse, compulsory rules of dress code etc. The letter alleged that the students get slapped for trivial reasons, get beaten up by the seniors, and sometimes the seniors allegedly take them to the top floor and suspend them by upside down.
Apart from this, the seniors made it compulsory for the students to learn the full names and addresses of the seniors, made them wait for long hours at mess, forced them to remain clean shaven at all the the time, write practical records of seniors, and perform tasks for the seniors at any time of the day or night.
Further, the letter have description of a particular act of ragging on November 9, 2022, when the seniors arranged “Junior Mr. Men’s Hostel” – a bodybuilding competition, in which all the juniors had to participate even without their consent. While the wardens were present during the programme and some of the doctors acted as judges, after they left, the seniors made the first-year medicos parade and run around the hostel in their underwears and perform multiple tasks including lying down in the mud while the seniors sprayed water on them.
The concerned Tweet had tagged the Police and the Chief Minister’s office as well. Later , taking cognizance of the matter, the registrar of Tamil Nadu Medical University Dr Ashwath Narayan sought a report from the college following media reports on the alleged ragging of first-year students. Police also booked the accused students after the Principal of the college lodged a complaint against them. While the students had been suspended and subsequently arrested by the Police, they are currently on bail.
As per the latest media report by Bar and Bench, the Madras High Court took suo motu cognizance of the ragging incident and sought an explanation from the college about the same. The counsel for CMC, Senior Advocate Krishna Srinivasan informed the bench that the internal inquiry of the college and the preliminary inquiry conducted by the police had held seven senior students responsible for the incident.
Further, the CMC counsel submitted a timeline of events to the court to explain that the college took immediate action as soon as they received the anonymous complaint. Immediately the internal committee had been set up, anti-ragging squad was notified and the Principal himself made the complaint before police, submitted the CMC counsel.
It was further submitted by the college authorities that while they regretted the incident, it was an isolated incident that the college did not condone. In this regard, the CMC counsel was quoted saying, “The police is already seized of the matter. If the police final report finds these seven students guilty, strict action in accordance with law will be taken. These students have no chance of reformation and no compassion will be shown to them by us.”
While the HC bench accepted these submissions, it also clarified that such incidents should never happen in a premier institute like CMC. “If it had happened somewhere in the interiors, we would not have taken suo motu cognisance. But CMC is a premier college. If you and I don’t take appropriate action, tomorrow one will say ‘when it happened at CMC nothing happened.’ Will a young student want to come study in your college now? What are you going to do now? How will you ensure that the quality of education is not impacted?” observed the bench.
Further the bench clarified how it was essential for the educational institutes to maintain discipline and follow the law. In this regard, the bench further observed that “gold medals” and accolades were of no consequence if a college failed to instil discipline in the students.
The bench also noted that medical profession was a noble profession and often considered divine. Therefore, the bench observed that it was expected from the doctors to treat everyone with empathy. Besides God, only a doctor can give life to someone, the bench noted.
CMC authorities have been asked to submit an affidavit and a status report in this regard within two weeks.