Two Madras Christian College professors face sexual harassment: One dismissed and the other indicted by the Madras High Court!

Two Madras Christian College professors face sexual harassment: One dismissed and the other indicted by the Madras High Court!

MCC, Zoology dept-complaint letter
Co-educational Christian institutions were highly unsafe for the future of their children:  Observing that Christian missionaries face accusations of indulging in forcible religious conversions, the Madras High Court said, “there was a general feeling” among parents, especially of girl children, that co-educational Christian institutions were highly unsafe for the future of their children[1]. Dismissing a case filed by a Madras Christian College (MCC) faculty accused of sexually harassing some girls during a study tour to Karnataka in January, Justice S. Vaidyanathan said[2], most parents were of the view that though Christian institutions impart good education, “the preach of morality will be a million dollar question.” Under ultra-modern conditions, the judge has made such observation that[3], “co-educational Christian institutions were highly unsafe for the future of their children”. Definitely, such remarks would not have come from a judge, because of the prevailing situation and many pedophile cases and other sexual harassment cases have been coming to courts involving pastors, bishops and others all over India[4]. As many educational institutions are under their controlled, it is quite natural to apprehend about the future of their children studying at schools and grown-up students going to colleges[5]. Even for conversions also, only, now such complaints are made, as the Christian missionaries have been so desperate to cover up their crimes committed in many areas affecting the society. As it has been reported by PTI, other dailies and on-line media carried the news[6].

Raveen Rajasigh, Christian Collge, Madras

Raveen Rajasingh and Samuel Tennyson – the two indulged in the sexual harassment The alleged harassment occurred during an academic tour to Mysuru, Bengaluru and Coorg in January this year[7]. In fact, the girl-students asked them to be within the limits. The Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of the college had found two professors of the college — R Raveen and Samuel Tennyson — guilty of sexually harassing students[8].  During the trip, several girl students complained that the professor in question made lewd remarks about their clothes, harassed them and behaved inappropriately[9]. They also alleged that throughout the trip, Tennyson had abetted Raveen’s behaviour by encouraging him[10]. Raveen even entered a room where girls were staying and slept on the bed. On returning to Chennai, the students complained to the Head of the Department who dismissed their complaints, calling it a ‘first time offence’ by the said teacher. Later, a petition signed by 30 odd students of the department protesting the college’s lack of initiative in addressing the issue caught the attention of the authorities. An ICC inquiry was held on the issue, and statements of the students who were subjected to harassment and the accused professors were recorded. On May 24, the ICC released the results of the inquiry which found both the professors guilty. R Raveen, who was an assistant professor in the Zoology department was dismissed after a detailed inquiry by the college Internal Complaints Committee into the incident.  His colleague Samuel Tennyson, another faculty from the department, too had been accused of abetting Raveen’s behaviour. However, the college is yet to dismiss Samuel due to a case filed by him on the issue in the Madras High Court. MCC’s principal Alexander Jesudasan confirmed the dismissal. “We have dismissed the professor after the ICC found him guilty of multiple cases of sexual harassment against students of the department. As for Samuel, the college cannot issue a dismissal order as there is a court case pending on the issue. However, the court has directed Samuel not to enter the campus premises,” the principal said.

MCC, Zoology dept-Samuel Tennyson

Samuel Tennyson tried to evade the proceedings by filing a petition in the High Court: Samuel Tennyson, an assistant professor in the Zoology department of the college, in a writ petition had sought to quash the fact finding report of the college’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) dated April 17, 2019. The report had stated that Tennyson had sexually harassed female students[11]. He also sought to quash the consequential second show cause notice dated May 24, 2019. Besides the probe, the college management had issued him a warning and barred him from paper-evaluation work and internal examinership for the end semester 2018-2019. He was also barred from accompanying students for tours for three years. Tennyson argued in the court that the ICC did  not given him certain documents and statements he had sought to defend himself. The college and the committee said that sufficient opportunity was given to him to defend[12]. Had Samuel not filed petition in the Court, these details would not have come in the media, so that the general public could understand the reality of the condition and discuss.

DC - 34 girls complained MCC
Judge could note the prima facie and took decision:  He made the remarks in the judgment after dealing with the writ petition on merits and refusing to interfere with a show-cause notice issued by the college management to the petitioner on the basis of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) report that a prima facie case had been made out against him on a complaint lodged by 34 students. Naming one of the girl students who had deposed before the ICC and provided a vivid account of the events that unfolded during the study tour, the judge suggested that she be provided appropriate counselling. He blamed the college for having deputed only two female teachers and five male teachers to accompany the students during the tour. In other words, not only these two, perhaps, others had also knowingly aided and abetted the sexual crime. Nowadays, it is intriguing to note that women are engaged in degrading women. But, here, as all have been highly educated, this type of attitude is unimaginable.

34 girls complained MCC
As long as a religion is practised in streets in lieu of its worship places such devastation: After concluding his verdict, the judge said: “Before parting with the judgment, this court feels it appropriate to point out that Christian missionaries are always on the source of attack in one way or the other and in the present era, there are several accusations against them for indulging in compulsory conversion of people from other religions. “As long as a religion is practised in streets in lieu of its worship places such devastation, as in the present case, does (sic) occur and will be mushrooming.” The judge went on to state he does not want to probe further and find out whether the petitioner was really at fault or was he a victim of a false complaint. The judge pointed out the reality of the secularism practiced in India. When what has to be carried on within the precincts of “place of worship” is carried on the roads, it is quite natural that such acts violate acts and rules and affect others also. Praying and or preaching on the roads, cannot be done, as they violate secularism.

MCC, Zoology dept-Raveen

Women Acts and Rules should be amended suitably: Disposing the petition, Justice S Vaidyanathan, in the order on August 13, 2019 said that there is no justifiable ground to interfere with the fact finding report as well as the second show cause notice[13]. However, the judge, without going into “the question of who is at fault in the present case”, observed that the government should think of amendments to laws meant for women protection “to prevent its misuse so as to safeguard the interest of the innocent masculinity too[14]. A similar trend is already being observed in the case of anti-dowry law (498-A), which is being misused to such an extent that the Supreme Court has termed it legal terrorism,” The court also observed[15], “we have to ask a question for ourselves as to whether those laws are invoked by women with genuine reasons.” Stating that several women centric enactments had been misused to teach a lesson to men in strained relationships, the judge said[16], “This is the right time for to think of suitable amendments in those laws in order to safeguard the interest of the innocent,” and directed the High Court Registry to mark a copy of his judgment to the Union Ministry of Law and Justice.

© Vedaprakash

17-08-2019

Samuel Tennyson

[1] The Hindu, Sexual harassment case: HC refuses to interfere in show-cause notice to Madras Christian College staff, Legal Correspondent CHENNAI , AUGUST 17, 2019 01:05 IST. UPDATED: AUGUST 17, 2019 08:18 IST

[2]  https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/hc-refuses-to-interfere-in-show-cause-notice-to-mcc-staff-college-took-the-step-against-teacher-after-34-students-levelled-charges-of-harassment/article29114275.ece

[3] Times of India, Christian institutions ‘unsafe’ for girl students: Madras HC judge ,  Chennai News – Updated: Aug 17, 2019, 6:25 IST

[4] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/christian-institutions-unsafe-for-girl-students-hc-judge/articleshow/70708267.cms

[5] NDTV.News, Christian Co-Ed schools regarded ‘Highly unsafe’ for girl students: Madras HC judge ,  Chennai News – Updated: Aug 17, 2019, 6:25 IST.

[6] https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/general-feeling-that-christian-co-ed-schools-highly-unsafe-for-girls-future-court-2086209

[7] Bangalore Mirror, MCC sexual harassment case: Madras HC says there is a general feeling that Christian institutions are unsafe, Gladwin Emmanuel, Uploaded: August 16, 2019, 16:5 IST.

[8] https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/news/india/mcc-sexual-harassment-case-madras-hc-says-there-is-a-general-feeling-that-christian-institutions-are-unsafe/articleshow/70700615.cms

[9] TheNewsMinute, In a win for students, Madras Christian College dismisses prof found guilty of sexual harassment, Jayarajan, Tuesday, July 16, 2019 – 18:39

[10] https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/win-students-madras-christian-college-dismisses-prof-found-guilty-sexual-harassment-105563

[11] Goa Chronicle, MCC sexual harassment case: Madras HC says there is a general feeling that Christian institutions are unsafe,  Uploaded: August 17, 2019, 14:05 IST.

[12] https://goachronicle.com/madras-hc-opines-christian-educational-institution-highly-unsafe-for-girls

[13] Indian Express, Madras HC refuses to stay sexual harassment probe against college faculty, Published: 17th August 2019 06:09 AM | Last Updated: 17th August 2019 06:09 AM.

[14] http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2019/aug/17/madras-hc-refuses-to-stay-sexual-harassment-probe-against-college-faculty-2019868.html

[15] India Today, General feeling Christian co-ed institutions highly unsafe for future of girl children: Madras HC,, Akshaya Nath, August 17, 2019; UPDATED: August 17, 2019 10:00 IST.

[16] https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/christian-coed-institutions-highly-unsafe-girl-children-madras-high-court-1581669-2019-08-17

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4 Responses to “Two Madras Christian College professors face sexual harassment: One dismissed and the other indicted by the Madras High Court!”

  1. Vancheeswaran Gopal Says:

    It is really pathetic. When we were studying in Christian institutions we loved our professors and teachers. The experience was one of father and son or mother and son or brother to brother without any issues such as the ones happening all around us. Even the Holy Sea has lamented how the hierarchy of Vatican has deeply penetrated in sex scandals throughout the world! What happened to the dedicated Principals, Professors and Teachers who hail from a very progressive society of dedicated culture, love and surrender to the CHRIST who were committed to the students’ knowledge and success in their careers? It is unbelievable! Some mad fellows canvassing for Jesus who preached universal love and brotherhood? Why Christians have become business like? Where have gone their dedication to the society? What is the need to promote Christianity at the cost of following the customs and practices of Hindu temples? Why so much fear in the Christian community who taught what is courage to the students? How many lacs and lacs of people voluntarily committed to Jesus Christ in the 60s and 70s?
    Why now the Christians are stooping to such awful levels for commercial conversion? It is a million dollar question only Christ can answer!

    • vedaprakash Says:

      If this has been the effect of the theology that they have been believing, following and thus resulting in such crimes, then, they have to relook into it and amend and correct for the goodness of “good christians”!

  2. Agilan Says:

    This college and its processors have a high reputation. Based on the circumstances we cannot come in to conclusion.
    As there may be personal vendata to damanage the name and reputation of this College, which was built and governed by British.
    Many things should have played here, even at present political scenario, internal enemity among some professor can also be a fact.
    Today’s judiciary is totally biased and functions at the nod of religion based orgs currently ruling this nation.
    With Deep concern,
    Agilan, Former Student Zoology.
    1998_2000 batch

    • vedaprakash Says:

      I do not want to bring politics here.

      It is fact that the affected students and as well as supporting students have been fighting for this sexual harassment since January 2019.

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