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Chinmayanand case: SC allows girl to change college (Lead)

Wednesday - September 4, 2019 5:42 pm , Category : EDUCATION
New Delhi, Sep 4 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the law student, who made sexual harassment allegations against former Union Minister Swami Chinmayanand, to take admission in another university.
It also allowed the girl's brother to take admission in another institute to continue his further studies without delay.
"For us, their future is important," said a bench headed by Justice R. Banumathi in its order, after the Uttar Pradesh government said that it has made all arrangements to shift the LLM student and her brother, pursuing LLB, to another college, and also assured that hostel accommodation will also be provided to them in the campus.
Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee, appearing for the UP government, submitted that if the court will pass direction, then it will be easy for the two students to take admission as the process is complete in most of the colleges.
He told the court that the two institutes to which law student and her bother are to be transferred have already filled up the permissible number of seats for the courses concerned.
The court then asked the Bar Council of India to pass appropriate direction in this regard.
"Considering the submissions of the Additional Solicitor General and in the interests of justice and peculiar facts and circumstances, we request the Bar Council of India to pass appropriate orders to increase the sanctioned strength of seats by one as an exceptional case in the concerned two institutes," it said.
The court has given four weeks time to the girl and her brother to apply for admission after it was informed that whatever fees and other incidental charges that have been paid by siblings in their respective institutes will be adjusted against the fee payable in the new institutes to which they are to be admitted.
The UP government also told the court that residential facilities will be given to siblings in the new institute's hostel.
Emphasizing on maintaining the continuity of the girl's education, the apex court on Monday directed the UP government to transfer the girl to a different college in the state so ensure continuity in her LL.M course.
The girl had expressed unwillingness to continue her studies at her present institute, which is run by Chinmayanand She also asked the court to transfer her younger brother, who is also at the same institute. The apex court directed the UP government make these arrangements as soon as possible.
The court also disposed off the matter saying that suo motu cognisance was taken to trace the missing girl.
"Now that she has been traced, we don't intend to do much. State has also offered to help to transfer them to other college to continue studies," the bench said adding that they do not want to expand the scope of the petition now.
The court also rejected the plea to meet the girl again and said that whatever she has to say, she must tell the Special Investigation Team (SIT), set up by the UP government.
The bench said that the the girl and her parents are now at liberty to go back to Shahjahanpur and take their own decisions. The court also directed Delhi Police to take them to their residence under its protection.
The court further directed that they can approach the Allahabad High Court for any further safety and security concerns.
The Supreme Court on Monday had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to set up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the sexual harassment allegations made by the LLM student against Swami Chinmayanand, who runs the college where the girl studied. It also asked the Allahabad High Court to monitor the probe.
The Supreme Court, had on last Thursday, decided to take up the case after lawyers raised concerns that it could turn into another Unnao case where powerful Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, now expelled, is accused of raping a minor girl from his village in 2017 and conspiring to murder her by staging a car crash.
Chinmayanand, 72, runs an ashram in Shahjahanpur and five colleges in the town. He also runs ashrams in Haridwar and Rishikesh.
After the apex court order, it is likely that the SIT will probe the college and the individuals named in the complaints to ascertain the truth.

--IANS ak/vd