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HC admits plea of former NSE employee alleging harassment
Bombay High Court has admitted a petition filed by A Sebastin, former assistant vice president of National Stock Exchange (NSE), alleging harassment by the management.

Sebastin, who claims to have voluntarily retired from NSE in last October, has challenged NSE's action of terminating his service in April this year. Division bench led by Justices Bilal Nazki admitted the petition, which will come up for hearing in due course.

According to a PTI report, Sebastin claims that he was harassed at the behest of managing director of NSE Ravi Narain and deputy managing director Chitra Ramkrishna for suggesting 'measures for improvement in risk management framework' while he was working at National Securities Clearing Corp Ltd, on deputation.

"The High Court took a strong view on the termination notice issued by NSE in April, when it had already accepted the resignation of Sebastin and relived him from duties in November 2008," said Sanjay Dhulapkar, counsel for Sebastin. Sebastin has also filed a defamation case against NSE and its managing director Ravi Narain in the Mumbai Metropolitan Court over alleged character assassination. The Court has issued summons to NSE officials asking them to be present on 16th July, during the next hearing of the case, Dhulapkar said.

The case
On 6th April, the NSE issued a ’public notice‘ in all leading business newspapers with the employee’s photograph announcing that anyone dealing with the “said Mr. A Sebastin” would do so at their own risk.

Normally, such notices are published only if an employee is guilty of financial fraud or a serious betrayal of trust. However, there is no such mention. Instead, the NSE issued a clarification responding to media queries saying that Sebastin’s “services were terminated” because he ”had not met the company’s requirements.” It also indicated, without being specific, that the employee had failed to complete “severance” formalities.

Sebastin, however, has evidence of a formal handover of charge, an exit interview and an email assurance that he would be relieved. He says that the public notice was issued after he sent a legal notice to the NSE on 4th April demanding severance benefits like Provident Fund (PF) and gratuity.

Holding back PF is not legal, so the NSE reportedly credited his PF account immediately after he served the legal notice but simultaneously issued him a termination letter followed by the public notice, almost six months after he had quit the Exchange.

When we published the case under the title of "Vindicative Action?" on our website www.suchetadalal.com, it received, so far, 26 comments from readers. One reader Golak said: "NSE should try to find out why NSE ex-employees are willing to join MCX-SX and sort out the problems rather than take this kind of vindictive action. As an organization, it has failed to come out of whims of few people who run the exchange at their own sweet terms."

Another reader Satish Swaminathan commented,"If there is attrition, then the HR should be pulled up for explanations and probably try to get to the root cause and address it. I am also failing to understand, how NSE is proposing to beat its competition by stopping people and being vindictive when they join a competing firm." -Yogesh Sapkale [email protected]

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