Chandigarh: The Punjab University in its forthcoming agenda meeting will take up the matter of punishment related to a dental doctor, Dr Devinder Preet Singh charged for molesting and sexual harassing dental students of Dr Harvansh Singh Judge Institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital. The doctor, in this case, has pleaded guilty for multiple charges levied against him.
The Punjab University Committee against Sexual Harassment (PUCASH) in its report dated May 25 has reinforced major penalty against him.
As per recent media reports, penalties include a reduction to a lower post or timescale, or to a lower stage in timescale or removal from service of the university, but no disqualification from future employment or dismissal from service of the university.
Dr Devinder Preet had pleaded guilty to the multiple offenses of sexual harassment lodged against him.
The investigation findings of PUCASH revealed that Dr Preet had undoubtedly in an inappropriate manner touched the complainant chest on an examination pretext.
“He did so in full knowledge of his lack of qualification for the same and awareness of the guidelines of the Medical Council of India that a male doctor can examine a female patient only in the presence of her relative or a female staff member,” reads the report.
The incident had reportedly occurred on March 6, and a formal complaint by the victim lodged the next day. Her complaint gave strength to others harassed by him to come forward and bring their plights to light.
The other complaints lodged later had the committee concluded that there had been other instances where Dr Preet was involved in sending vulgar text messages and making other inappropriate comments and invitations which clearly fell within the definition of sexual harassment as prescribed by the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
“He also admitted to having sent an obscene video to one of the students, which he claimed to have sent inadvertently,” reads the report.
In another instance, the investigating Senate found that he had engulfed a girl after clasping both her hands from the back. the explanation given by him on this act was found unsatisfactory by the Senate. “The PUCASH was not satisfied with the respondent’s (Dr Devinder Preet Singh) explanation regarding holding a glove and simulating milking of a cow and commenting, tumhara dudh aisey nikalta hai,” it has also been submitted by the findings committee(Senate).
Dr Preet maintained a studied silence on his act of touching a girl’s badge pinned on her chest which the complainant said amounted to being touched in an inappropriate way, added the report. Another dissatisfactory explanation rendered by him was that of a girl complaining of having been touched on her stomach in an indecent manner.
The committee’s finding report concedes to Dr Devinder Preet having admitted to his guilt both verbally and in writing. “I want to plead guilty, but the severity of the guilt is not of the level as has been placed by the complainants before the PUCASH,” he is believed to have said to the Tribune.
Another complaint stated, “Dr Devinder Preet has been sending me vulgar messages of whose copy/screenshots has been already submitted. He used to send me pornographic videos and message me late night, which was very absurd. When I used to be alone at home, he used to send me messages that he wants to come to my place. He used to ask me out for lunch and also send me a cake, teddy with a heart holding in hands on my birthday which was very embarrassing receiving it from a faculty member at that post. All this happened from the period of December 2017 to March 2018.”
His explanation to the PUCASH regarding sending obscene or inappropriate images via WhatsApp to any girl student was an inadvertent lapse on his part because of a touchscreen phone.
He admitted to receiving obscene images on WhatsApp” he receives obscene images on a WhatsApp group namely “Dirty Doctors”
Dr Preet was also accused of asking students at the Department of Orthodontics about their current dates. Another student complained that he used to ask whom they were dating when they were posted at the Department of Orthodontics in January.