This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Saptaparno Ghosh. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why Setting Up Of Internal Complaints Committees In DU Colleges Can’t Be Delayed Further

More from Saptaparno Ghosh

The University Grants Commission (UGC), back in 2015, enlisted norms for dealing with sexual harassment in higher educational institutions. However, only multiple protests and a number of cases of sexual harassment later, constituent colleges of Delhi University (DU) have begun to establish an effective and democratically regulated Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) in colleges.

The Internal Complaints Committee

Neeta Sehgal, Delhi University’s Acting Proctor, instructed all constituent colleges to form an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) as per the UGC Regulations (2015) on the Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of Women Employees and Students in Higher Educational Institutions in April 2017.

The stated ruling of the UGC mandates the complaints committee to consist of a woman presiding officer, two academic faculties, two non-teaching staff, a representative from a recognised NGO, and three elected student representatives. Sehgal stated the existing ICCs do not consist of elected student representatives. The UGC directive also requires other bodies such as the Gender Sensitisation Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) and Women Development Cell (WDC) to be reconstituted as the ICC.

In the recent past, Hindu College, Miranda House and Ramjas College have regularly conducted elections for the ICC. The committees have received a sizable number of complaints about harassment by PG and flat owners. They have also conducted workshops on understanding sexual harassment and legal remedies to it. It serves as the legal grievance redressal mechanism alongside the existing gender forum of the colleges.

Daulat Ram College

The complaints’ committee in most colleges is dormant, neglected and unconstitutional. Despite DU’s April 2017 ruling, Daulat Ram College at North Campus had never put up an election notice. Students reveal, Principal Dr Savita Roy stated the ICC was already in place. As per the principal’s recent communication to the proctor, the college’s ICC consists of five female teachers and three students, one of them being the college’s vice-president. “Election notices were never put up; the principal arbitrarily sent a notice to the proctor listing these students as members of the ICC. We tried speaking to the principal about the same, but to no avail”, stated Alka, a student at Daulat Ram College (name changed on person’s insistence).

Students conducted a signature awareness campaign on the importance and treatment of the ICC earlier this month. Having gathered 350+ signatures, they approached the principal. The campaigners inform that the principal was not available to meet them on numerous instances. The callousness particularly came to light because of the recent sexual harassment case at the college. The college administration maintained an ‘anticipated stony silence’ on the issue. Pressured by students demanding the termination of the professor, the college informed that the accused had already given his resignation. Surprisingly, the professor was taking regular classes until the day of his arrest on February 5, despite a complaint being lodged against him six days before (January 30).

Students inform that the professors repeatedly advise them not to go against the college authorities. The college defends their stance pointing to the counselling cell which serves a similar purpose as the defunct ICC. However, the counselling cell isn’t a legal body to be addressing issues related to sexual harassment as the ICC.

St Stephen’s College

St. Stephen’s College finds itself on the same footing too. However, unlike Daulat Ram College, the movement at the college has garnered much support from the academic faculty.

Stephen’s (like Daulat Ram College) informed the proctor about a functional ICC, as well. Surprisingly, the deployed-convenor of the ICC was on leave for two years and returned to the college in late 2017. The students inform that the college does not follow the annual election regulation as mandated by the UGC.

“The college’s response is pretty ambivalent.  However, along with the academic faculty, we are working to create awareness about the ICC. We are negotiating with the student’s union president as well”, stated Geetika* (name changed on person’s insistence). The informal collective intends to organise an exhibition on sexual harassment in the university setting at the college premises.

Unlike Daulat Ram, students at St. Stephen’s are hopeful about the formulation and upkeep of democratic regulations of the ICC. Daulat Ram’s greatest challenge is the lack of awareness among students about the importance of the committee which is one of the reasons it has not witnessed a lot of student solidarity till date. The lack of encouragement from the academic faculty is another challenge. However, with the recent turn of events at Daulat Ram College, the speculated silence might be averted soon.

As per the recent Delhi University notification, the elections to various posts of the ICC would be held on March 12. The final date for filing nominations is February 23, following which the verified candidatures shall be announced on February 27. With the issues concerning the formulation of Internal Complaints Committee and sexual harassment in university spaces becoming pot-boilers, the turnout shall be much awaited.


Image source: Pinjra Tod/Twitter
You must be to comment.

More from Saptaparno Ghosh

Similar Posts




    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below