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A Bangalore civil court has granted an interim stay on the dismissal of a faculty member at the city’s MS Ramaiah College of Law.
Dr. G Srinivas, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the law college, had been terminated after protesting the treatment meted out to him by the authorities. A member of the Scheduled Caste community, Dr. Srinivas allegedly faced discrimination in terms of pay scale since January of last year. In fact, in his petition, Dr. Srinivas states that faculty members junior to him and those less qualified were being paid more than him.
After his several representations to the authorities fell on deaf ears, he decided to protest by sitting in the Principal’s office with a picture of Dr. BR Ambedkar. Subsequently, he was issued a suspension order on October 8 of last year. This order was then challenged by him before the Karnataka State Commission for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes. Before the Commission, the authorities undertook to revoke the suspension, which they did, on January 20 of this year.
However, much to his consternation, Dr Srinivas received an order dated February 8, stating that he was dismissed from service.
It seems that the authorities have dismissed him in pursuance of the law college’s internal Rules. Rule 7 of the the Gokula Education Foundation Service and Conduct Rules states,
“7. Demonstration and Strikes are not allowed and will result in termination of employment.”
In his petition, Dr. Srinivas has stated that the Conduct Rules do not define what “demonstrations” and “strikes” are. Moreover, he claims that his actions, which took place in August last year, did not amount to a demonstration or a strike. Even if they did, he claims, the Supreme Court in Kameshwar Prasad and Others v. State of Bihar and Another and OK Ghosh and Another v. EX Joseph had ruled that the right to carry out a peaceful protest was a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution.
Further, he claimed that he was not given the opportunity of being heard before his dismissal, and that the procedure under the Karnataka Education Act, 1983 and the Conduct Rules was not followed. Therefore, his rights under Article 14 and 21 were violated.
Before the Principal City Civil and Sessions Judge, advocate Dore Raj, appearing for Dr. Srinivas, pleaded for the dismissal order to be set aside and also asked for an interim stay on the order.
On Tuesday, the judge granted an ex-parte stay, stating,
“Looking into the facts and circumstances of the case, at this stage, I feel that the applicant/appellant has made out grounds to grant stay order. If the notice is ordered to the other side, the purpose of filing the appeal will be frustrated. The delay may defeat the ends of justice. Hence the office order dated 8/2/2017 issued by the respondent 1 is hereby stayed…till the next date of hearing.”
The next date of hearing in the case is June 13.
Read the order: