Tshering Palden  | Paro

The seven staff, including six lecturers, that the College of Language and Cultural Studies in Taktse and the Royal University of Bhutan relieved earlier this year, sued the two authorities for wrongful charges and unfair dismissal yesterday.

The staff were made to resign compulsorily for alleged breach of code of conduct and relieved on May 11.

After reviewing the cases, the Office of the Attorney General concluded that it would not prosecute the seven individuals. The decision came in July.

In September, the relieved staff approached the labour ministry for an investigation. The ministry declined to act saying the RUB was not under its jurisdiction. The individuals also wrote to the college administration requesting to reinstate them.

In the joint submission to the court, they alleged that the college administration and the RUB had not followed the rule of law and due process. The plaintiffs requested the court to revoke the termination orders issued by the college and the RUB and that they be reinstated to their former posts.

While the college administration cited violation of RUB’s human resource rules and regulations 2017 for their compulsory retirement, the complainants counter charged and stated that their dismissal was not in adherence to the same rules and regulations.

As per the rules and regulations section 15 (4.4), the college has to institute a disciplinary committee to conduct an investigation into the allegations. They alleged the college authority had not done so.

The rules also state that the disciplinary committee should give them a month to submit their response to the accusations. However, they claimed that they were deprived of any opportunity to clarify on the accusations made against them.

They cited the chapter 14 section 4.27 of rules and regulations which states: “University shall observe natural justice and procedural fairness by ensuring that anyone whose interests may be adversely affected by a complaint is aware of the allegations against them, including the identity of the person making the allegations, and given the opportunity to respond. The University shall not act on anonymous complaints.”

They accused that the authorities had acted based on their assumptions and biases, rumours, and conspiracy by the college’s president. For instance, Chorten Tshering was told to resign only verbally and the authorities did not issue and written orders.

The plaintiffs requested the court to order the authorities to compensate Nu 1.9 million to each of the relieved staff as the cost of litigation and for hiring a private attorney.

The Trongsa court conducted a miscellaneous hearing and registered the case yesterday.