Tripura High Court: Akil Kureshi, CJ., dismissed a petition which was filed challenging an order passed by the Director of Elementary Education imposing punishment of compulsory retirement on the petitioner as also an order passed by the Secretary, Education (School) Department, Government of Tripura dismissing the appeal against the order of the disciplinary authority.
In the year 1997, the petitioner was appointed as an undergraduate teacher in a Government school. On 06-05-2019 an incident took place when the petitioner had beaten up a Class-III student after which Inspector of Schools, therefore, issued a memorandum calling for the petitioner’s explanation for such incident. Petitioner had replied that he was taking the class of arithmetic of Class-III he had asked the students
to write down numbers from 9 to 99 and she could not write some numbers, such as, 19, 29, 47 etc. Since this was taught to the students ten days back and this girl could not give correct answers, he lost temper and beat her up with a cane which he was carrying in his hand.
Not satisfied with the explanation of the petitioner the department instituted an inquiry, the petitioner did not resist the allegations contained in the departmental inquiry during the course of the inquiry proceedings. The Inquiry Officer thereupon presented his report dated 25-09-2020 holding that the charge against the petitioner was proved. The disciplinary authority considered the inquiry report and the representation of the petitioner and imposed the punishment of compulsory retirement. Petitioners appeal against the disciplinary authority was dismissed.
Counsel for the petitioner, Mr Roy Barman submitted that the petitioner had candidly accepted the charge and regretted his actions and assured that such incidents shall not occur in future. The disciplinary authority therefore should have taken a lenient view and imposed any punishment other than dismissal, removal or compulsory retirement.
The Court stated that charge against the petitioner that stood proved thus was of a serious physical assault on a Class-III girl student causing injuries which required her to be hospitalized and the physical and mental trauma caused fever to her and thus Court further opined that conduct of the petitioner cannot be seen as a momentary loss of discretion on account of some unacceptable but otherwise explainable reason. The petitioner has tried to put it as a one of lapse on his part as something which is conventional though no longer legal.
The Court was of the view that in the facts of this case it cannot be stated that the punishment imposed by the disciplinary authority and confirmed by the appellate authority was disproportionate to the proved charge relying on the judgment of the Supreme Court in B.C Chaturvedi v. Union of India, JT 1995(8) SC 65.
The Court dismissed the petition and further held that Mere honesty of the petitioner in admitting the charge or his assurance that such an incident shall not recur are not the grounds for tempering with the order passed by the disciplinary authority in the present case.
[Chandan Shil Sharma v. State of Tripura, 2021 SCC OnLine Tri 427, decided on 23-08-2021]
Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.