What are the Laws Against Ragging In India?


Laws Against Ragging-Ragging in colleges is a serious offense in India, and the Supreme Court of India has taken a strong stance against it. The court has provided guidelines and directives to prevent and address ragging incidents in educational institutions.

What is ragging?

Ragging is defined as an act that involves an activity violating the dignity of a student. Ragging is done in the name of fresher’s welcome i.e. shows to what extent a person or human imagination can fall to prove his supremacy.

According to a survey in the year 2017, about 40% of India’s students had to face some form of ragging and bullying, of which medical and engineering colleges reported the most. These figures are shocking because this data has come despite strict laws against ragging.

How was ragging introduced to India?

The practice of ragging is believed to have been introduced to India during the colonial period, specifically within the context of British educational institutions. Ragging, in its early forms, was a practice in British military academies and public schools. The term “ragging” itself is thought to have originated from British slang, where it referred to various forms of boisterous behavior, teasing, or initiation rituals.

During the colonial era, many Indian students, especially those from affluent families, were sent to British institutions in India or to England for higher education. The British educational system, with its traditions and practices, influenced the culture in these institutions.

The concept of ragging gradually made its way into Indian educational institutions, where it evolved and, unfortunately, took on negative connotations. Initially, ragging may have been seen as a form of initiation or bonding ritual, but over time, it became associated with more harmful practices, including physical and psychological harassment.

By the time of the 90s, it had reached its peak. During this time, private medical and engineering colleges were opening in India. During this period, ragging took its terrible form. Its impact was badly seen in South India.

Many student suicides were reported in South India at this time. According to the statistics, the highest number of cases of ragging was found in the year 1997 in Tamil Nadu. 

Considering the seriousness of the matter, in 1997, Tamil Nadu became the first state where ragging was completely banned.

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What are the laws against ragging?

In 2001, the Supreme Court banned ragging across India. Despite this, some cases continue to come up. The death of Aman Kachru, a student of a medical college in Dharamsala, due to ragging in 2009 prompted the Supreme Court to direct all the educational institutions in the country to strictly follow the anti-ragging law.

Under the anti-ragging law, if a student is found guilty, he/she can be imprisoned for 3 years and a fine.

Laws Against Ragging

Ragging is a serious offense in India, and various laws and regulations have been enacted to prevent and address this issue. The key legislation against ragging in India is the “UGC Regulations on Curbing the Menace of Ragging in Higher Educational Institutions, 2009,” which was formulated by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Here are the key features of the laws and regulations against ragging:

  1. University Grants Commission (UGC) Regulations:
    • The UGC, the apex regulatory body for higher education in India, has formulated detailed regulations to prevent and prohibit ragging in higher educational institutions. These regulations are binding on all universities, colleges, and institutions deemed to be universities.
  2. Criminal Laws:
    • Ragging can also be dealt with under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as a criminal offense. Physical or mental harm caused due to ragging may lead to charges under sections such as assault, criminal intimidation, or causing hurt.
  3. Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1999:
    • Some states, like Maharashtra, have specific legislation to prevent and prohibit ragging. The Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1999, prescribes stringent measures against those guilty of ragging, including imprisonment.
  4. Supreme Court Directives:
    • The Supreme Court of India has issued directives regarding ragging, emphasizing a zero-tolerance approach. These directives include the formation of anti-ragging committees and squads in educational institutions, the promotion of awareness programs, and strict actions against offenders.
  5. UGC Anti-Ragging Helpline:
    • The UGC has established a national anti-ragging helpline (1800-180-5522) to provide assistance and guidance to students facing ragging. This helpline operates 24/7 and can be accessed by students from any part of the country.
  6. State Anti-Ragging Laws:
    • Some states in India have their laws and regulations to combat ragging. These state-specific laws may complement the UGC regulations and provide additional measures to prevent and address ragging incidents.
  7. Punishments and Penalties:
    • The punishments for those found guilty of ragging can range from suspension and expulsion from the educational institution to imprisonment. The severity of the penalty depends on the nature and gravity of the ragging offense.
  8. Protection of Whistleblowers:
    • The laws and regulations protect those who report incidents of ragging. The identity of the complainant is kept confidential, and educational institutions are required to take measures to ensure the safety of whistleblowers.

Ragging in College, What should you do?

If you are a victim or witness of ragging, here’s what you should do based on the Supreme Court’s directives:

  1. Report Immediately:
    • Report the ragging incident immediately to the college authorities, including the principal, dean, or a designated anti-ragging committee. Provide them with detailed information about the incident, including names of those involved and any evidence you may have.
  2. Contact Anti-Ragging Helpline:
    • In India, there is a national anti-ragging helpline (1800-180-5522) that you can call to report incidents and seek guidance on how to handle the situation.
  3. Familiarize Yourself with Supreme Court Directives:
    • Be aware of the Supreme Court’s directives regarding ragging. The court has emphasized a zero-tolerance policy and mandated strict actions against those involved in ragging.
  4. Anti-Ragging Committee and Squad:
    • Every educational institution is required to have an anti-ragging committee and an anti-ragging squad. The committee is responsible for taking preventive measures, and the squad investigates incidents. Cooperate fully with these bodies during the inquiry.
  5. Protection of Identity:
    • The identity of the person reporting ragging incidents should be kept confidential. Educational institutions are mandated to protect the identity of complainants.
  6. Lodge an FIR:
    • In case the incident involves criminal activities, such as physical harm or sexual harassment, consider filing a First Information Report (FIR) with the local police. The Supreme Court has emphasized that ragging can be treated as a criminal offense.
  7. No leniency for Offenders:
    • The Supreme Court has directed that no leniency should be shown to those found guilty of ragging. Stringent actions, including expulsion from the institution and criminal proceedings, may be initiated against the offenders.
  8. Educate Students:
    • Educational institutions are required to educate students about the harmful effects of ragging and the legal consequences associated with it. They must also conduct awareness programs to create a positive and safe campus environment.
  9. Regular Monitoring:
    • The Supreme Court has directed that the institutions should regularly monitor and submit reports on anti-ragging measures to the University Grants Commission (UGC) and other relevant authorities.
  10. Zero Tolerance:
    • The Supreme Court’s directives emphasize a zero-tolerance approach toward ragging. The court has underlined that educational institutions have a responsibility to ensure a safe and healthy environment for students.

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