ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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'Gross Misconduct' by Aligarh Muslim University

The cynical use of homophobia to protect university maladministration is condemnable.

The suspension of a teacher of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) for having consensual sex with a person of the same gender is wrong both on constitutional and moral grounds. Further, it is an indication of the regressive petty mindsets, which have come to dominate those very institutions that are meant to incubate radical and critical ideas in society.

On 8 February 2010, Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, head of the department of modern Indian languages at AMU, was filmed having consensual sex with another man. Media reports say that a TV crew barged into his house at night and filmed him while other reports claim that some of his “students” had entered his house earlier and set up secret video cameras. The video clip was then given to the university authorities who promptly suspended the professor. There are two immediate problems with the manner in which the AMU authorities have reacted. One, there is no criminal or civil wrongdoing by Siras, even assuming what the university authorities claim about the video is correct. How can consensual sexual relations between adults be termed “gross misconduct”? It is obvious that the AMU authorities are innocent of the laws of the land. Even if the government of India is yet to make up its mind on the Delhi High Court’s ruling on Section 377 of the criminal procedure code, this odious provision was unambi guously redefined by the high court to legalise sexual relations between two adults, irrespective of gender. Two, there is prima facie evidence of criminal trespass of the residence of a person (who is also a senior faculty member of the university) and a wilful invasion of his privacy. It is incumbent on the university’s part to file criminal cases against those who p erpetrated this act.

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