The Delhi high court on Monday granted relief to a female employee of St Stephen’s College who had alleged “victimisation” by principal Valson Thampu after she complained of “sustained sexual harassment” by her department boss.
Senior lawyer Jayant Bhushan, appearing for the woman (name withheld), alleged that Thampu “in collusion with the offender was building up a case to oust her from the college after she complained of repeated sexual harassment”.
She urged the court to issue a direction to the college not to take any action against her till the court decided on her petition seeking action against her boss. Justice Siddharth Mridul restrained the college from taking any action against her till September 26 and said “status quo shall be maintained”.
The court issued a notice to Thampu, Delhi University (DU), the governing body of Stephen’s College, DU’s apex complaints committee for sexual harassment and Stephen’s complaints committee seeking their stand on her plea by September 26.
Romy Chacko, the lawyer for Thampu and governing body of St Stephen’s College told HT: “All allegations are denied as baseless and without substance. We will file a detailed reply in court.”
The woman’s lawyer told the court that DU’s apex complaints committee for sexual harassment had recommended certain penalties on the department boss after finding him guilty.
“Thampu chose to ignore this and persuaded the governing body of the college to completely ignore any penalty recommended against the person. The principal in collusion with the wrongdoer turned against her,” Bhushan alleged.
The woman alleged that after she raised the issue of sexual harassment, Thampu had recorded adverse remarks against her conduct and was taking steps to expel her on the grounds of professional incompetence and negligence.
Thampu’s lawyer Romy Chacko said, “Stephen’s governing body examined the entire matter in detail. It was unanimously decided not to accept DU’s apex committee’s decision as it suffered from a serious flaw. It had arrived at the finding without hearing the accused’s side. The college’s governing body has a sacred duty to protect the morale of its employees and to ensure that statutory provisions are not abused for the pursuit of personal vendetta or blackmail.”