Ragging in India

Context- The article discusses the ongoing problem of ragging in Indian universities, despite
laws and regulations to stop it, and suggests that more effective prevention and accountability
measures are needed.
What is “ragging”?

  • According to the Supreme Court of India (Vishwa Jagriti Mission case), ragging is defined
    as any disorderly conduct that involves teasing, treating, or handling fellow students
    with rudeness. It includes engaging in undisciplined activities that cause annoyance,
    psychological harm, or generate fear among junior students. The Court views it as an act
    often motivated by deriving sadistic pleasure or showcasing superiority by seniors over

    What are the anti-ragging measures in India?
  • Judicial Measures: The Supreme Court’s intervention in 2001, which banned ragging
    across the nation, was a significant step. It further mandated the establishment of
    proctoral committees within educational institutions to actively monitor and address
    ragging issues. For severe incidents, the Court recommended reporting to the police.
  • Legal Measures: On the legal front, ragging cases can be addressed under various
    provisions of the Indian Penal Code. Sections 339 and 340, dealing with wrongful
    restraint and confinement, are pertinent. Additionally, several states, such as Kerala and
    Maharashtra, have enacted specific anti-ragging laws providing a robust legal framework
    at the state level.
  • UGC Measures: The University Grants Commission’s (UGC) comprehensive guidelines
    issued in 2009 include requiring universities to ensure students sign anti-ragging
    undertakings and establishing vigilant committees comprising staff and senior students.
    The UGC also supports an anti-ragging helpline, available in 12 languages, and maintains
    a dedicated website for reporting and tracking ragging incidents.
    Other Measures
  • The 2007 R.K. Raghavan Committee report described ragging as psychopathic behavior.
    It recommended both its prohibition and the implementation of preventive measures,
    which shaped the UGC’s 2006 guidelines.
  • The Unny Committee’s recommendations, which included a range of punishments for
    ragging, from monetary fines to imprisonment, further reinforced the seriousness of the
    What are the Gaps in the anti-ragging System?
  • Lack of Effective Prevention: State laws mainly focus on prohibiting ragging rather than
    preventing it. This approach fails to address the root causes and behaviors leading to
  • Poor Enforcement of Regulations: Despite the existence of guidelines like the UGC’s
    2009 regulations, their strict implementation by governments and authorities is lacking,
    leading to unsafe campus environments.
  • Insufficient Institutional Measures: Educational institutions often limit their anti-ragging
    efforts to formalities like displaying ‘no-ragging’ notices and obtaining undertakings from
    students and parents. This does not effectively deter ragging.
    What should be done?
  • Strengthen Institutional Accountability: Educational institutions should be held
    accountable for preventing ragging. This can be done through regular monitoring and
    strict enforcement of anti-ragging policies.
  • Create Supportive Environments: Establish systems where teachers and hostel wardens
    are easily approachable for students facing ragging. This will ensure victims receive
    immediate assistance.
  • Involve Multiple Stakeholders: Engage not just students and teachers, but also parents in
    the anti-ragging campaign, fostering a community-wide effort against ragging.