The sexual harassment case regarding Dr. Mitul Baruah was originally referred to Ashoka University by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Over the course of the last year, the University conducted extensive inquiries into the matter. There were some circumstances specific to this case that necessitated protracted inquiries. Throughout this process, Ashoka University was fully committed to seeking truth and justice.
The case was first examined by Ashoka's Committee Against Sexual Harassment (CASH), which found Prof Baruah not guilty of sexual harassment. This finding was consistent with the finding of the JNU Committee as well, which had also found him not guilty of sexual harassment. However, since the CASH Committee raised some possible concerns about Prof. Baruah’s conduct not relating to sexual harassment, the Ashoka Board of Management appointed another Committee to look into matters pertaining to this case to ensure that no facet was left unexamined. This Committee also concurred with the original finding that there was no case for sexual harassment. Its findings were referred to the Board of Management, which, as per Ashoka Faculty Disciplinary guidelines, referred the findings to a Judicial Committee. All throughout, the proceedings were conducted with an absolute commitment to fairness. The salient points of the process are summarized below:
1. All Committees that have looked into the matter found Prof. Baruah NOT GUILTY of sexual harassment. A total of four Committees have looked into the matter, including three at Ashoka and one at JNU. NONE of the Committees found him guilty of sexual harassment. This is the verdict of all the committees, and we should respect that verdict.
2. A wide range of faculty members and other representatives were involved in these committees. They conducted the proceedings with integrity and commitment to truth, guided by no consideration other than the evidence at hand, and all of them agreed on the core findings.
3. Since one of the committees had raised the possibility of there being infractions not related to sexual harassment, the subsequent committees looked into that matter as well. These infractions, not relating to sexual harassment, were dealt with as per Ashoka University Norms.
Ashoka University is fully committed to ensuring a campus that is free of sexual harassment. The commitment and fairness shown by so many of our colleagues during this process illustrates that Ashoka’s processes meet the highest benchmarks of integrity. Respecting the confidentiality of the process requires that we not conduct public trials based on speculation or second-guessing evidence; further, any breach of confidentiality may only disempower future victims from coming forward. The committees which have studied the matter have looked at the totality of the evidence, in its proper context, before delivering their findings, and a commitment to fairness requires that we respect that outcome.