Indian or Delhi, if I must, colleges and universities, don’t exactly have the best record when it comes to taking into account the emotions and all that their students are going through, in very high regard.
But the latest ruling by the Delhi High Court (HC) to the UGC that is the University Grants Commission, that they must make sure that every university and college in the capital, including the ultimate Delhi University (DU) has created a GRC or grievance redressal committee in the next four month.
But I must say that while we may not exactly have seen the results, it is not for the lack of rules set to the UGC.
Back in 2013, the UGC had sent out a notification where it relayed to all the recognized colleges and higher education institutes to have a GRC set up.
A GRC is a place where Delhi college students can submit any complaint they might have while a part of that university, the issues can include sexual harassment, any type of discrimination they might be facing and any other issues that could affect them on a personal and/or professional level.
So What Exactly Does The Ruling Say?
See the thing here is that the GRC has actually been there since a few years now, about 2014 if you want to get specific.
However, in 2015 a former Delhi University law student had brought it to the attention of the High Court that the regulation set by the UGC for the operation of GRCs was not followed properly by many institutes and most of all DU.
Now, with this ruling the court has said made it mandatory for every college and university to have an ‘ombudsman’ and has told the UGC to ensure that this is done so.
What is an ‘ombudsman’ you ask, well simply put, it is an official whose job is to investigate and probe the complaints made by the students against the college.
Till now, the even though the GRC was in effect in DU, however there was no ombudsman appointed till now.
This ruling has now made it compulsory for every college to have one which will allow a better running of the committee and that the complaints are actually seen through.
The high court has also asked DU “take necessary steps forthwith and appoint the ombudsman” in terms of provisions of the regulations “as expeditiously as possible, preferably within a period of four months from today (Friday)”.
Will This Actually Make Any Kind Of Difference To The Delhi College Students?
But of course it will, at least that is what I am hoping for.
The new rules and guidelines that the court has layed out for DU and other colleges across Delhi has many more instructions on how the GRC should run and what new provisions to take up.
Not only has the court told institutes to work with the ombudsman, but the UGC has also out forward their own action plan if any college refuses or fails to abide by the orders of the ombudsman.
With this, if any college does not, intentionally or otherwise comply with the orders given by the ombudsman or the GRC then the UGC has the power to either withhold any grant that the college might be getting or even in worse case scenario take back the declaration of fitness that allows a college to receive grants.
If done properly, this GRC could mean great things as students would have a proper place to submit any complaint or wrong doing they have to suffer through.
Furthermore have people who could guide them through the process.
Signing off I would just say that, a GRC is badly needed in our college and university system and it is high time that the correct steps be taken to provide Delhi college students with that.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.