St Stephen’s prof seeks stay on principal’s action

High Court restrains Valson Thampu,tells him to not take any adverse action against M S Frank.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published: January 6, 2012 12:40 am

The second bout of showdown between St Stephen’s College principal Valson Thampu and professor M S Frank,who has questioned Thampu’s eligibility to be the principal of the college,has also reached the Delhi High Court.

Days after he was issued a showcause notice and a chargesheet for alleged acts of misconduct,Frank moved the court seeking a stay on the disciplinary proceedings against him and said it was done “maliciously” to pressurise him,owing to his previous petition against Thampu.

On Thursday,Frank received a respite from the High Court as it confirmed an order restraining Thampu from resorting to adverse actions against him. A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw passed the restraining order on Frank’s petition,which challenged the legality of the inquiry proceedings initiated against him by Thampu.

“The interest of the petitioner (Frank) is protected by the single-judge order,whereby the respondent (Thampu) is restrained from taking adverse actions against the petitioner,” said the bench.

The court,however,refused to grant a complete stay on the inquiry proceedings against Frank and said such an order was not required when he had already been given a protection from being removed or any other unfavourable action against him.

On December 1,Frank was issued a showcause notice for his alleged misconduct and on December 22,Thampu issued him a chargesheet,stating his response to the notice was found unsatisfactory, insufficient and inadequate. Frank,a senior professor in Chemistry department,was asked to appear before an inquiry officer on January 12.

In the meantime,Frank had moved a petition before a single-judge bench,which took it up for hearing on December 23.

“The petitioner has all throughout resisted pressures from the principal and his associates to withdraw the case,and it is precisely for this reason that this false case of misconduct is being made out against him,” his petition stated,adding as many as 44 college teachers had also formally registered their protest against the proposed action against Frank.

The single-judge then issued a notice to the DU,the college and Thampu. The order stated: “Till the next date of hearing,Thampu shall not act on the report of the inquiry officer. It is made clear that the inquiry proceedings shall proceed.”

The professor had then moved an appeal before the division bench,seeking a stay on the inquiry proceedings and also other appropriate order. While the court refused to interfere with the order relating to continuation of inquiry,it confirmed the protection order and further said that both the parties could approach the single-judge seeking an advancement in the date of hearing,which is currently for April 17.

The 2009-case regarding Thampu’s qualifications is pending before another court and is listed as a regular matter.

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