The Assistant Teacher’s Principles Of Natural Justice Should Be Protected – In The High Court Of Judicature At Bombay

The Petitioner’s principles of Natural Justice were violated, and he faced severe charges in the departmental inquiry instituted against him. The Petitioner was not allowed to represent himself in the investigation, which instigated him to file this writ petition. The Learned Judge BHARATI DANGRE J pronounced this Judgement on 24.01.2022 in SUDEV NAGNATH KAMBLE V. THE SECRETARY AHILYABAI HOLKAR SHIKSHAN PRASARAK MANDAL AND OTHERS.

The Petitioner was employed as an Assistant Teacher by Management from June 25, 2004. This complaint alleges that the Management harbored animosity toward him because he wanted to be promoted to the restricted category of Headmaster, but the Management preferred to elevate someone else. The Petitioner was served with a show-cause notice on January 15, 2013, demanding that he show cause in response to 18 counts filed against him within seven days. A review of the allegations reveals that they date from 2007 to 2009, with some of the counts relating to insubordination, desertion of duty, misdemeanor, misconduct, and so on. On January 24, 2013, the Petitioner filed his response, disputing the claims levied against him, and on February 7, 2013, he received notice of the investigation committee’s appointment.

The Petitioner requested additional time when the appointment was made, but on February 28, 2013, he was told that 15 days, as he had asked, was too long and that he should provide the name of his agent within an eight-day timeframe. On March 11, 2013, the respondent Management formed a two-member investigation committee, which included Shri Padmakar Chaudhari, a recipient of the Maharashtra Government’s Adarsh Shikshak Award Shri S. S. Karkare, a Society Member.

Petitioner was served with an order of termination on April 27, 2013, terminating him from the position of Assistant Teacher with effect from April 30, 2013. The letter stated that after an investigation was conducted against him and the report of the inquiry was submitted on April 26, 2013, he was found guilty of all charges leveled against him. It was decided to terminate his services immediately.

On review of the chronology and sequence of events, it is sufficient to note that the Management desired to proceed with departmental inquiry in respect of the allegations of misdemeanor and misconduct leveled against the Petitioner, and the charges leveled against him about the years 2007-2009, and the learned counsel initiated the inquiry for the Petitioner.

If the claims levied against the Petitioner are to be taken seriously, it was expected that the Management would allow him the opportunity to defend himself in the investigation process before adjudging him guilty of the charges. The Petitioner objected to the inquiry committee formed by filing a writ petition, and since his petition was found to be without merit, it was dismissed. As a result, the Petitioner would not have insisted on the inquiry proceedings being postponed in the wake of the Management’s decision to appoint a two-member committee.

On the other hand, the School Tribunal ignored this crucial part and hastily dismissed the Petitioner’s appeal.

The Learned Judge on the above arguments contends that the quashed and set aside the order dated 27-04-2013, as well as the School Tribunal’s ruling of 12-04-2019 affirming the same order of termination, cannot be supported. During the interregnum period, if the order of termination is set aside, the Petitioner will remain suspended and lose any benefits accrued to him. As a result of the preceding, the writ petition is granted.

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Reviewed by Rangasree

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