AKRJ: The Anti-Ragging Bill came to be drafted by me following the death of a medical college student of Annamalai University. He was murdered by a senior student pursuant to an incident of ragging.
The Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Ragging Act 1997 is very severe. It fixes the accountability and responsibility on the college administration. When a student complains of ragging, the authorities are required to forward the complaint to the police station, failing which, the person responsible for the governance of the institution is arrayed as an abettor of the offence. The Act also says that those students proved guilty of ragging will be dismissed from the institution and they should not be admitted in any other institution.
The difficulty arose when during drafting of the Bill, I was attempting to define ‘ragging’. No judgment from any court was available. Therefore, the burden was on me to draft an altogether new definition. It took me about 10 full days just to come up with the definition. I consulted former vice-chancellors, students, friends, educationists, high ranking police officers, my own officers and staff and the definition of ragging was finalised.
Once the Act was brought into force, the menace of ragging came to a halt. This Act was a first of its kind. Eight States later adopted the Anti-Ragging Act.
In 1997, a student of a women’s college was pulled down from a moving motor vehicle in front of the college and she fell down and died. After a few days, the Chief Minister M Karunanidhi called me on a Sunday evening and wanted an Anti-Eve Teasing Bill prepared. He expected the Bill in its final form by the next morning at 10 AM. Thereafter, the Bill was drafted by me and it was passed by the Assembly and came into force.
The most challenging task I faced as the Law Secretary, was drafting ‘Tamil Nadu Protection of Interest of Depositors (in Non-Banking Financial Establishment) Act 1997 (TANPID Act). For decades together, fraudulent business organisations promising impracticable returns and lured people into investing money.
The Chief Minister instructed me to make law to eradicate the menace. Though the depositors lost money, the promises of returns did not make it a crime under the Indian Penal Code. The lacuna was filled by drafting and making such acts a crime. A fast-track action was designed as found in The Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance 1944. The government was given power to attach the properties of those establishments and then to take them to the Special courts to be created, for further actions. The Special Court was conferred with the powers of both Civil and Criminal Courts. It is a signature legislation by Tamil Nadu. The validity of the Act was challenged ultimately in 2011 the Supreme Court sealed such challenges.