Madras HC Slams Kalakshetra Foundation for Not Addressing Students' Sexual Harassment Complaints

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The judge remarked that the extended duration of unaddressed allegations by students is a blight on Kalakshetra

The Madras High Court on Wednesday strongly criticized the Kalakshetra Foundation for not properly handling students' complaints about sexual harassment, calling it a blight on the institution.

In a bunch of petitions related to student harassment, Justice Anita Sumanth acknowledged the graphic nature of the alleged harassment as detailed in the report of the independent committee led by retired judge Justice Kannan.

Describing the allegations as distasteful and deeply disturbing, she stressed the urgency of considering the committee's recommendations for immediate action by Kalakshetra's management.

"“The allegations of omission and commission put forth by the petitioners shall now be enquired into expeditiously and matters taken to a logical conclusion," she ordered emphasizing that the extended duration of unaddressed complaints by students reflects negatively on Kalakshetra.

Justice Sumanth also highlighted the draft Gender Neutral Policy for Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal of Sexual Harassment Complaints. Originating from the petitioners' initiative, the policy evolved during hearings in the matter into a Gender Neutral Policy that was debated and discussed with the respondents and garnered approval from both sides.

Justice Anita Sumanth said that the framing of the policy marks a positive step towards remedying the situation, albeit partially.

Highlighting the arguments raised by the petitioners, Justice Sumanth pointed out that in the educational system, both classical and modern, teachers hold a central position of power. The judge emphasized that students trust their teachers without question, and for the current education model to thrive, teachers must reciprocate by offering complete mentorship.