The Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases has dismissed a case filed against Suttipong Juljarern, the interior permanent secretary, for allegedly insulting a subordinate in public and denigrating the university from which the latter graduated.
The lawsuit was lodged by Songkran Atchariyasap, a lawyer and alumnus of Siam University, to which Mr Suttipong was accused of making a disparaging reference during a remote meeting with his subordinates on Dec 27 last year.
The official allegedly criticised a subordinate during the meeting and went on to belittle the institute from which the subordinate had graduated. A video clip featuring the alleged insult went viral on social media and drew public criticism of the permanent secretary.
On Monday, the court threw out the case saying that Mr Songkran was not the damaged party.
However, Mr Songkran said he would appeal the court’s decision and fight until Mr Suttipong agrees to apologise to the subordinate in question.
In the rejected lawsuit, Mr Songkran accused Mr Suttipong of violating Section 157 of the Criminal Code, which deals with the offence of dereliction of duty committed by a state official and the Computer Crime Act.
Mr Songkran said that as a university alumnus, he would fight for justice in this case as he believed the damaged party himself would not dare pursue legal action against his own boss.
The way Mr Suttipong allegedly referred to the university as he insulted his subordinate might also hurt the job prospects of the university graduates.
Their potential employers might believe what Mr Suttipong said in the remote meeting and hold a bias against graduates from the university, given Mr Suttipong’s respectable status as a high-level government official.
Although Mr Suttipong wrote to Siam University and the Council of University Presidents of Thailand, he didn’t intend to denigrate the university; it was not enough to undo the damage to the institute’s reputation, said Mr Songkran.