An administrative officer of St Stephen’s College, who has been suspended, has filed a petition in the High Court contesting that it was beyond the powers of the college principal to suspend an employee without the authority and approval of the college governing body.
The officer, Subha Kumar Dash, in his petition also accused Principal Valson Thampu of trying to convert him to Christianity.
Without going into the details of the alleged conversion attempt, Dash produced copies of the correspondence between him and Thampu and alleged that he was harassed and victimised by the principal. Dash claimed that this has caused a lot of mental agony to him and his family.
Thampu has denied the allegations. Pointing out that he has been working with St Stephen’s College since 1973, Thampu said, “I have not converted anyone or discussed religion with anyone. He is being coerced by certain parties to do this. My stand on conversion is in the public domain.”
The principal claimed that Dash has been suspended for “gross misconduct” and was an “alcoholic”. Thampu said he was playing the communal card to obfuscate the issue.
According to sources, the college governing body has also decided to advance its meeting to December 19 from January 16 to look into the matter and take appropriate action. Many believe that the meeting was advanced so that the governing body could approve Dash’s suspension before the case comes up in court.
Refusing to divulge details about the advancement of the governing body meeting, Thampu said he has full faith in the governing body to take the right decision.
On December 10, Thampu had issued the suspension order, citing “gross misconduct that includes sending derogatory and defamatory SMSes to the administration, to the college community and those outside; making wild and baseless allegations of a serious nature against administration; and refusing to comply with the instructions given to you…”.
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