The legal notice has been served on behalf of the woman professor who had accused him of sexual harassment; the committee had recommended closing the inquiry

CHANDIGARH Updated: Aug 21, 2020 21:08 IST

Dar Ovais
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh

Former PU V-C Arun Kumar Grover.
Former PU V-C Arun Kumar Grover.

Former Panjab University vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover was served a legal notice on Thursday for allegedly making public the proceedings of the Independent Internal Committee (IIC), which was probing the allegations of sexual harassment against him.

The legal notice has been served on behalf of the woman professor who had accused him of sexual harassment. This comes days after the former V-C had received a communication from vice-president Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the chancellor of PU, along with the minutes of the meeting of the committee held on June 16, 2020.

The IIC, headed by Dheera Khandelwal, additional chief secretary, environment, Haryana government, had recommended closing the inquiry.

However, the woman professor, who did not appear before the committee, through multiple representations had questioned its jurisdiction, stating there was no employee-employer relationship between the office of the chancellor and Grover, whose term ended in 2018.

Giving reference to the provisions of Section 16 and 17 of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013, the notice states that the provisions of the act clearly mandate that the proceedings or recommendations of the committee are not to be made public. The notice alleged that Grover had shared the proceedings of the committee with the members of the senate on August 18.

“That your actions are not only defamatory but also in violation of the statutory norms and therefore through the present notice, you are hereby called upon to submit an unconditional apology to my client and to withdraw all such communications and actions by virtue of which you have published the minutes of the committee, within seven days of the receipt of this notice,” states the notice served to Grover by the lawyer of the woman professor.

The notice further stated that in case of failure on Grover’s part to withdraw such publications and submit an unconditional apology within seven days, appropriate civil and criminal proceedings may be initiated against him.

The woman professor refused to comment on the matter.

Former V-C Arun Kumar Grover said, “The committee report has said that she has not substantiated her allegations against me and they recommended closing the inquiry. I shared the proceedings with senate members only after I was informed that the chancellor has accepted the report of the committee.”

Grover had, on Friday, written to Panjab University vice-chancellor and demanded that a senate meeting should be convened to discuss the report of the Independent Internal Committee (IIC).