Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Lack of Due Process makes actions like asking persons to resign or job termination, rather unfair in PN ashram system

As is the case with some of my recent posts, an inner urge prompted me to write this post.

I know about this lack of due process in asking people to resign or terminating their services, from direct experience that I had in the manner in which I parted ways with the Sai university for my free service activity (Seva) in March 2012 (with the key problem occurring in Jul 2011 between me and the HOD). I had offered free Seva there from Jan. 2003. The HOD wanted me out and so he abused his power as HOD and forced me to get out. None of my former colleagues or other administrators in the university dared to talk about justice in my case. They seemed to just be bothered about safeguarding their positions and TERRIFIED of questioning the university top bosses about how I was being mistreated. Perhaps they were scared that if they tried to intervene in my situation, they themselves might be forced out by the power-crazy HOD!

In the sad situation related to the tragic suicide in the Vidya Vahini project, I think what is needed is for top people of Vidya Vahini project to be given a chance to give their side of the story. Yes, the suicide was a tragic event. But it is unfair to blame any Vidya Vahini project leader(s) simply on the basis of any complaint mails/documents that the deceased lady may have left. That's only one side of the story!!! Howsoever much it is tragic that the young lady lost her precious life, it is possible that she may not have been able to handle job related stress or other job related problems, got into some sort of mental depression that led to the tragic suicide. That does not immediately mean that the Vidya Vahini project leader(s) are to blame!!!

From my recent reading of Indian Supreme Court judgements on the matter (for details, please see my recent posts: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2017/06/is-suicide-note-naming-person-enough.html and http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2017/06/indian-supreme-court-in-2010-in.html), it is clear that work related stress (or marital stress) leading to suicide even with a suicide note making some allegations, by itself, is not grounds for any legal case for abetment of suicide. Indian law needs active encouragement/goading of the victim by the accused to commit suicide to bring any abetment of suicide charge against the accused!!! Even though I am not aware of the details, I am sure that Vidya Vahini project leader(s) would not have done any such active encouragement/goading for the lady to commit suicide. So legally I think there seems to be no issue here. Of course, the tragedy that a young and precious life was lost remains. But there is nothing criminal here, it seems to me.

At an ashram organization level, an investigation could be done to see whether there was any major mismanagement or abuse of power which led the lady to resign and then perhaps get into mental depression and commit suicide. But this should be done in a way that is fair giving a chance to top leaders of the project to have their say. If nothing serious can be found in terms of mismanagement or abuse of power then the Vidya Vahini project leader(s) should be permitted to continue their work, in my considered opinion. Of course, steps should be taken to avoid such tragedies in future.

Such a due process way of examining the sad incident would be fair to long-term and dedicated staff-leader(s) of the Vidya Vahini project.

Readers may want to see some comment exchanges in my Facebook post,
https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1921148798101688, associated with this blog post.

Some of my comments from above mentioned Facebook post are given below:

In response to comment, "Persons leading spiritual organizations should be put to a higher standard of care test than ordinary employer employee relationships, Sir.", I (Ravi) wrote:
--Name-snipped--, Here the issue is that a decision seems to have been taken which impacts the life of a married man with family in a very big way, as he seems to have lost his job. [I am not specifying the "decision" or the person as there has been no official statement on it, as usual in Prasanthi Nilayam system. But I have heard it from multiple sources and I do think that decision has been taken.]

The person concerned was not leading the Prasanthi Nilayam spiritual organization. He was leading a project within it.

Now I don't know whether the person was given a fair hearing before the decision was taken. But my own experience in the Sai university (Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning) in Prasanthi Nilayam in the chaos, confusion and trauma after Mahasamadhi, in the period Jun 2011 to May 2012 was that it had become a complete dictatorship with some people in power in Sai university including the TRAITOR vice-chancellor Sashidhara Prasad, becoming Hitlers and Stalins and engaging in widespread abuse of power. I have documented my own case in great detail here: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/11/my-may-2012-service-record-record.html. I did not get any fair hearing AT ALL. Essentially, I was told follow whatever (including Asathya & Adharma) instructions the HOD gives you (with a clear implied: OR ELSE GET OUT).

If Bhagavan was in physical form, these same people who indulged then in horrific abuse of power in the Sai university including the TRAITOR vice-chancellor Sashidhara Prasad (he stepped down as VC in Nov. 2014) would have easily been forced to correct themselves or else they themselves would have been thrown out of the Sai university or at least removed from their positions of power, by the simple mechanism of affected staff (like me) offering a letter to Bhagavan who was/is the founder chancellor of the Sai university! It was the absence of physical form of Bhagavan that made these administrators of Sai university, unaccountable and power-abusive.

Given the above, I doubt that the person concerned in the situation now was given a fair hearing. I mean, I don't think there is any due process mechanisms for employees of Prasanthi Nilayam system.

But I could be wrong. If the person concerned has really lost his job and has not been accommodated elsewhere in Prasanthi Nilayam system, then my view is that the person concerned should PUBLICLY put out his version of what happened. That would be critical to save his name and reputation. That's what I did eventually. As until I put out my version PUBLICLY in 2015 and 2016, the false narrative that the power-abusive and power-crazy administrators of Sai university including the TRAITOR vice-chancellor had conveyed, was what people in general would have believed to be true. That's the power of authority!!!

So, to conclude this comment, the "higher standard of care test" that you speak of, should also involve a FAIR HEARING to the person concerned.

Sister --name-snipped--, Yes, my case is different mainly because I was FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT and was offering FREE SERVICE to the Sai university. FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE allows one to do so many things which a person who is financially dependent on his/her job cannot do. Thanks.

In response to comment, "Sir, my sympathies and good wishes are with you in your efforts at having your service records rectified.

Human failings are to be provided for or accommodated in the interest of a bigger agenda. I appreciate your zealousness in protecting the sanctity of Bhagawan and PN in the face of these bureaucratic bunglings.", I (Ravi) wrote:
Thanks for your sympathies and good wishes, --name-snipped-- sir.

--Name-snipped--, One person told me today afternoon that Satyajit has been moved to another job in Central Trust. I don't know whether that news is true or not. If so, then I think it may be a good solution for the current situation. Satyajit being out of Vidya Vahini will allow any internal VV investigation into the matter, be done in a more impartial and fair manner.

So don't freak out on SSSCT trustees without knowing the full picture. Given the fact that SSSCT does not put out official statements on such matters, it takes time to gather the facts. So hang on! Don't jump the gun!

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