“The most inhumane act is the offence of Ragging on a human being by an inhuman creature.”
Ragging is an offence under MAHARASHTRA PROHIBITION OF RAGGING ACT, 1999 which defines ragging as:
"Causing, inducing, compelling or forcing a student, whether by way of practical joke or otherwise, to do any act which detracts from human dignity or violates his/her person or exposes him/her to ridicule from doing any lawful act. By intimidating, wrongfully restraining, wrongfully confining, or injuring him or by using criminal force on him/her or by holding out to him/her any threat of intimidation, wrongful confinement, injury or the use of criminal force."
"Ragging in all its forms is totally banned in this institution including in its departments, constituent units, all its premises (academic, residential, sports, cafeteria, etc.) whether located within the campus or outside and in all means of transportation of students whether public or private. The institution shall take strict action including but not limited to criminal proceeding and/or cancellation of admission against those found guilty of ragging and/or of abetting ragging and the burden of proof shall hereby lie on the perpetrator of alleged ragging and not on the victim. An offence of Ragging may be charged either on a written complaint by the affected or on independent finding of the Anti Ragging Squad.
Meaning Of Ragging
Ragging is an outburst of organized horseplay, usually in defiance of authority, riotous festivity, especially of under-graduates in British
The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India perhaps has given a more comprehensive meaning of ragging as under:
"Ragging is any disorderly conduct, whether by words spoken or written, or
Origin Of Ragging
Forms Of Ragging: From Bad To Worse
1. Dress Code Ragging : The freshmen are asked to dress in a specific dress code for a particular period of time. But this isn’t as easy as it seems. For the dress code prescribed is generally weird, eg., dressing totally in white or black with the hair oiled and combed in a particular style. The dress code ragging may make the freshmen feel awkward and uncomfortable as it often brings them unnecessary attention from everybody.
2. Formal Introduction : This involves asking the freshmen to introduce themselves in 'Shudh Hindi'. The introduction includes the freshmen’s name, address, school, marks, etc.
3. Verbal Torture : Verbal torture involves indulging in loose talks. The freshmen may be asked to sing the lyrics of any vulgar song or use abusive language while talking to the seniors.
4. Sexual Abuse : This is the severest form of ragging that takes place in colleges. The seniors are mainly interested in ‘juicy’ details such as the anatomical description of one’s body parts, his or her sexual interests, etc. In many cases, the freshmen have been asked to strip before the seniors.
5. Playing The Fool : The freshmen may be asked to enact scenes from a particular movie or mimic a particular film star. In many cases, the seniors may also ask the freshmen to do silly things like climbing a tree, kissing a tree, proposing to someone from the opposite sex, etc.
6. Hostel Ragging : Outstation students who stay in the hostel are most vulnerable to ragging. They may be asked to do all odd acts from cleaning the room of seniors to washing their clothes, from fetching them water or milk to completing their assignments.
7. Drug Abuse : This can be the worst form of ragging wherein the freshmen are forced to try drugs thereby driving them into addiction.
Understanding The Psyche Of A Ragger
1. Ragging Gives A Sense of Authority: By having the freshmen always at his command, a senior student nurtures a sense of authority which boasts his morale and puts him on a high.
2. Ragging Can Be A Means Of Retaliation: A senior who has some previous history of ragging may like to get back by venting his frustrations on the freshmen.
3. Satisfaction Of Sadistic Pleasures: A potential ragger sees ragging as a good opportunity to satiate his sadistic pleasures all at the cost of a poor freshmen’s imagination.
4. Peer Pressure: It is also a reality that not all seniors who commit ragging enjoy doing it at their sweet will. Seeing most of their batchmates indulging in ragging, they fear being left out. So inorder to avoid isolation, they too join the herd.
5. Ragging Makes A Fashion Statement: Many senior students live under the misconception that ragging makes a style statement and thus will put them in the ‘influential crowd’ of their college.
Consequences Of Ragging: Shocking, But True
How Ragging Affects The Victim:
2. The victim declines into a shell, forcing himself into ignominy and alienation from the rest of the world.
3. It demoralizes the victim who joins college life with many hopes and expectations.
4. Though incidents of physical assault and grievous injuries are not new, ragging also simultaneously causes grave psychological stress and trauma to the victim.
5. Those students who choose to protest against ragging are very likely to face ostracism from their seniors in the future.
6. Those who succumb to ragging may drop out thereby hampering their career prospects
How Ragging Affects The Victim’s Family:
How Ragging Affects The Educational Institution :
2. Those who indulge in ragging bring a bad name to their college thereby hampering its reputation and goodwill in society.
How Ragging Affects The Raggers:
Substantive Laws Prohibiting Ragging
The common essential features of the aforementioned legislations are:
"Ragging means display or disorderly conduct, doing of any act which
The Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1998 defines ragging as: "Teasing, abusing, playing practical jokes or causing hurt or asking a student to do an act which he is unwilling to do."
2. Secondly, they provide for setting up of Disciplinary Committees for taking immediate and effective steps against ragging.
The Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1998 reads:
Despite incidents of Ragging being reported from almost all states in India, only four states, namely, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra and West Bengal, have enacted legislations to deal with it. As for other states and union territories in India, Ragging is banned but only through circulars and administrative orders.
Preventing Ragging : The Landmark Supreme Court Guidelines
The judgment in the case of Vishwa Jagriti Mission through President vs. Central Government, through Cabinet Secretary is particularly significant as the Hon’ble Supreme Court, while exercising its jurisdiction under Articles 32 and 142 of the Constitution of India, has laid down broad guidelines for colleges and educational institutes to prevent ragging. Very Briefly, these guidelines are:
1. Anti -Ragging Movements To Be Initiated By All Colleges And Educational Institutes:
Anti-ragging movements should be initiated by the institutions right from the time of advertisement for admissions. The prospectus, the forms for admission and/or any other literature issued to aspirants for admission must clearly mention that ragging is banned in the institution and any one indulging in ragging is likely to be punished appropriately with punishment which may include expulsion or suspension from the institution or class for a limited period or fine with a public apology. The punishment may also take the shape of: (i) withholding scholarships or other benefits (ii) debarring from representation in events (iii) withholding results (iv) suspension or expulsion from hostel or mess, and the like. If there be any legislation governing ragging or any provisions in the Statutes/Ordinances they should be brought to the notice of the students/parents seeking admissions.
2. Undertakings To Be Taken Both From The Freshmen And Their Parents/ Guardians:
The application for admission / enrolment shall have a printed undertaking to be filled up and signed by the applicant to the effect that he/she is aware of the institution’s approach towards ragging and the punishment to which he or she shall be liable if found guilty of ragging. A similar undertaking shall be obtained from the parent/guardian of the applicant.
3. Undertaking To Be Taken From Seniors Students And Their Parents/Guardians Too:
The institutions which are introducing such a system for the first time shall ensure undertakings being obtained from the students and their parents/guardians already studying in the institutions before the commencement of the next educational year/session.
4. Notices To Be Issued Indicating Where To Approach For Redressal In Case Of Ragging:
A printed leaflet detailing when and to whom one has to turn for information, help and guidance for various purposes, keeping in view the needs of new entrants in the institution, along with the addresses and telephone numbers of such persons, should be given to freshers at the time of admissions so that the freshers need not look up to the seniors for help in such matters and feel indebted to or obliged by them.
5. Management, Principles And The Teaching Staff To Have Personal Interaction With The Freshmen:
The Management, the Principal, the Teaching Staff should interact with the freshmen and take them in confidence by apprising them of their right as well as obligation to fight against ragging and to generate confidence in their mind that any instance of ragging to which they are subjected or which comes in their knowledge should forthwith be brought to their knowledge and shall be promptly dealt with. It would be better if the head of the institution or a person high in authority addresses meetings of teachers, parents and students collectively or in groups in this behalf.
6. Practorial Committees To Be Set Up:
At the commencement of the academic session, the institution should constitute a practorial committee consisting of senior faculty members and hostel authorities like wardens and a few responsible senior students:
A) to keep a continuous watch and vigil over ragging so as to prevent its occurrence and recurrence,
7. Ragging- Prone Zones To Be Identified And Carefully Guarded :
All vulnerable locations in the college such as the canteen, the playground, etc. shall be identified and specially watched.
8. Society To Be Sensitised On The Issue Of Ragging:
The local community and the students in particular must be aware of the dehumanizing effect of ragging inherent in its perversity. Posters, notice boards and signboards wherever necessary, may be used for the purpose.
9. Failure To Prevent Ragging To Be Constructed As An Act Of Negligence:
Failure to prevent ragging to be constructed as an act of negligence in maintaining discipline in the institution on the part of the management, the principal and the persons in authority of the institution. Similar responsibility shall be liable to be fixed on hostel wardens/superintendents.
10. Hostels/Accommodations To Be Carefully Guarded:
The hostels/accommodations where freshers are accommodated shall be carefully guarded, if necessary by posting security personnel and placed in charge of a warden/superintendent who should himself/herself reside there, and wherein the entry of seniors and outsiders shall be prohibited before and after a specified hour of night except under the permission of the person in-charge. Entry at other times may also be regulated.
11. Migration Certificates To Mention Whether The Student Ever Indulged In Ragging:
Migration Certificates issued by every institution should have an entry apart from that of general conduct and behaviour whether the student had participated in, and in particular, was punished for ragging.
12. Withdrawal Of Financial Assistance To Institutes Where Ragging Incidents Are Reported:
If an institution fails to curb ragging, the University Grants Commission/Funding Agency may consider withdrawal of financial assistance to such an institution till such time as it achieves the same. A university may consider disaffiliating a college or institution failing to curb ragging.
13. Students To First Approach Their Colleges:
In case of any incident of ragging, the students must approach the Disciplinary Committee of their respective colleges first, and only if the said Committee does not take cognizance of the matter or if they feel dissatisfied with its decision that they should approach the police. The objective behind this is to restore the faith in the ability of educational institutions to maintain discipline and protect the interests of their students.
14. Police Not To Follow A Retributive Approach While Dealing With Ragging Culprits:
It may be important to note here that the above stated guidelines are only illustrative and are not intended to come in the way of the educational institutions and authorities devising ways and mean to curb ragging. If there are any local laws governing ragging, they should be implemented and knowledge and information about such laws should also be disseminated.
Anti-Ragging Act in India