Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: After an expert committee set up by the University Grants Commission declared his Ph.D. in Theology valid, the Rev. Valson Thampu, who was forced to resign from his position as officiating Principal and Officer on Special Duty at Delhi University’s St. Stephen’s College, wants action to be taken against the UGC official who declared his degree “invalid”.

Referring to the controversy created over the validity of the degree as “an abuse of public office”, Mr. Valson said on Tuesday that he was considering writing to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Union Human Resource Development Ministry for action to be taken against the “errant officer”.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Valson said: “Now that my integrity has been vindicated, I may consider writing to the Prime Minister and the HRD Ministry to initiate action against the official concerned. It is shameful that a public office has been used to settle personal scores. I am disappointed that an apex body like the UGC has been used for creating a controversy.”

Referring to the genesis of the controversy which led to his ouster from the premier institution, Mr. Valson said: “A deliberate wilful misunderstanding was created. Even though Ph.D. finds a place in the UGC’s notified list of degrees, there is no mention of the disciplines. Theology is a discipline and Ph.D. a notified degree. It appears that the confusion was knowingly created.”

On the allegation that the validity of his degree was questioned by the official at the behest of his wife who teaches at St. Stephen’s and was opposed to his appointment, Mr. Valson said: “If there is a correlation between the two, I am not disinclined to believe it.”

“Though I am yet to decide on whether I will seek a legal recourse, I feel the public should condemn this abuse of public office. The findings of the expert committee have made it clear that a Ph.D. in Theology is valid and the same has been said in the affidavit that was submitted in the Delhi High Court on Tuesday.”

Mr. Valson’s Ph.D in Theology obtained from the Allahabad Agricultural Institute was declared invalid this past March. Following this announcement, the National Council for Minority Educational Institutions declared his appointment “patently illegal” and Mr. Valson resigned as officiating Principal and Officer on Special Duty.

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