National Law School Students Wear Shorts, Protest Moral Policing

NLS class turns up in shorts after professor targets student with ‘dress properly’ comments. (Photo: IStockphoto))
NLS class turns up in shorts after professor targets student with ‘dress properly’ comments. (Photo: IStockphoto))

National Law School Students Wear Shorts, Protest Moral Policing

Students of Bengaluru’s National Law School of India University turned up in shorts two days after a professor targeted a student with sexually coloured remarks about her clothes. The professor shamed the student publicly for wearing shorts to class.

According to Legally India, NLSIU Bangalore professor V Nagaraj on Monday picked on a third-year LLB student for wearing shorts to his lecture and went on to make sexually coloured remarks when she objected to his censure of her attire.

The students emailed a “statement of condemnation” to the vice chancellor, faculty members, exam department and all law students.

Condemnation Statement

Portions of the statement have been reproduced below:

“We are extremely aggrieved about the fact that:
a. The Professor publicly shamed the student for the clothes she chose to wear, and
b. The Professor cast aspersions on the students character for voicing her concerns.

We were all stunned into silence on hearing a distinguished member of the faculty make such a crude comment. The student was appalled at this reasoning and respectfully objected to the same. The Professor then proceeded to cast aspersions on the character of the student. He denounced her credibility entirely and went on to state,“You can come to class without a dress also. That is how your character is, I’m going to ignore you.”

We find such behaviour extremely unacceptable, especially coming from a Professor, who students are expected to consider as a role model. NLS has taught us to value discourse above everything else and to be tolerant of individual choices. The behaviour highlighted above goes against the spirit of this institution. Therefore, we believe it is imperative that such aberrant actions be denounced by the University as a whole with immediate effect. We also demand that a public apology be issued by the teacher in question to the concerned student and the institution as a whole.”

Legally India quoted Nagaraj as saying that the students were exaggerating.

Nothing like [what is described in the statement] happened. Students are making false and baseless allegations. It is for the university authorities to examine this incident. This is the first time that students have made such a statement [whereas] I have been teaching for 27 years.
Professor V Nagaraj, NLSIU Bangalore

He admitted that the university had no dress code for students and has asked the administration to issue a clarification regarding the same, with a special consideration to “certain decorum” that is expected from students.

NLSIU vice chancellor Prof Venkat Rao was not reachable for comment by phone at the time of writing.

NLSIU sexual harassment committee’s former in-charge, Prof VS Elizabeth condemned the issue saying that the faculty members should think before casting such aspersions on people’s character, reported Legally India.

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