HC modifies punishment imposed on PET

Court turns his dismissal into compulsory retirement with pension benefits

Dismissing the writ petition filed by a Physical Education Teacher who had challenged the departmental punishment imposed on him on certain charges, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court observed that a teacher had to be a role model to students.

Justice M. Dhandapani observed that the teacher was the backbone of the next generation and unless he or she inculcated good habits in the minds of the students, who looked upon their teacher as their role model, the foundation of the country would be shaken.

The court was hearing the writ petition filed by S. Andrew Chandra Kumar of Thoothukudi in 2010. In 2008, the petitioner had left the school premises in the forenoon session on a full working Saturday to attend to his wife who was sick.

He said that he left the leave application on the table of the headmaster as he was not available at that time. However, the department authorities said that he had entered the room of the headmaster and signed the attendance register forcibly.

It was submitted that the petitioner was granted an opportunity to present his side of the case, but failed to appear before the inquiry committee. Hence the committee decided to punish him by dismissing him from service.

The judge took note of the fact that three charges were levelled against the teacher: failing to give necessary physical education coaching to the students, forcibly signing the attendance register and using filthy language against the headmaster, which was confirmed by other teachers.

The court observed that the misconduct of the petitioner in the presence of other staff members could not be brushed aside without inflicting punishment on him. Therefore, the finding of the inquiry officer did not call for any interference.

However, taking into account the fact that the health condition of his wife would have been on the mind of the petitioner on that particular day making him react in such a manner, the court modified the punishment to that of compulsory retirement with pension benefits.

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