St Stephen's College professor Nandita Narain, who is seeking re-election as Delhi University Teachers' Association president, has threatened legal action against principal Valson Thampu if she is not grated leave for campaigning. Narain had applied for three weeks' earned leave so that she can campaign for the polls slated for August 27. Thampu had turned down the application, saying "cannot oblige".
Alleging "victimisation" and "harassment", Narain has shot off a letter to Thampu warning him of legal action if her application was not considered "within 24 hours".
"DUTA elections are due to be held on 27 August, and I am seeking a second term. Three weeks of leave is the minimum I would require in order to cover the varsity which is spread over all seven Lok Sabha constituencies (of Delhi)," Narain said in her letter to Thampu.
"I appeal to you once again to grant me the leave that I have rightfully earned through long years of service, and which I urgently need in the next few weeks. Failure to do so within the next 24 hours would leave me with no option but to approach the court for relief," she added.
The fresh development comes against the backdrop of Thampu indirectly attacking Narain in connection with a molestation row involving a Stephen's research scholar, when he had accused the DUTA chief of being one of the "handlers of the controversy".
The two have been at loggerheads in the past as well with Narain dragging Thampu to court for ordering an institutional inquiry against her for allegedly defaming the institution.
Accusing Thampu of "harassing" and "targeting" her, Narain said in the letter, "In the last few years, I have openly expressed my unhappiness with the way in which you have handled several issues, notably those concerning victimisation of employees and students."
"Because of this, I have been repeatedly targeted and have faced continuous harassment by you. In one such instance, I have even been compelled to seek legal redress for my protection," she said.
Thampu was not available for his comment on the issue.
A mathematics professor, Narain is also locked in a tussle with DU Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh as she has been leading a campaign seeking his removal from office for alleged financial and administrative irregularities.
Narain also alleged that the decision to "not oblige with a leave application" has approval from the university authorities as well. "I am inclined to believe that this unreasonable action of yours also has the tacit approval of the university administration of which, as President of the DUTA, I have been a vocal critic.
"Both of you (Thampu and Singh) have spared no effort to engineer false complaints against me and appear to be keen to thwart my efforts to become the president again. This arbitrary denial of leave would also be construed as an attempt to obstruct the democratic process of elections and to influence its outcome in a particular direction," she added.