Making a grunting noise when the school Correspondent passed by was apparently one of the reasons why S. Peter Raj, a teacher of R.C. Middle School in Tuticorin, was sacked from job in 1998.

On Monday, a division bench comprising Justice Chitra Venkataraman and Justice S. Vimala upheld a single judge’s order directing immediate reinstatement of Mr. Peter with full back wages after counsels I. Robert Chandrasekar and G. Prabhu Rajadurai argued on behalf of the petitioner. Incidentally, Counsel Robert is one of the former students of the petitioner.

Mr. Peter was the Headmaster of St. Mary’s Higher Secondary School from 1985 to 1989. Later he continued service as a postgraduate assistant. “The Correspondent of the school denied me promotions, refused to sanction casual leave, deducted money from my salary illegally and harassed me before dismissing me from service on August 22, 1998,” Mr. Peter told the court.

Failing to produce his degree certificates at the school, suppressing facts about past service experience, misrepresentation of facts to the Joint Director of School Education and making a grunting noise when the Correspondent walked past the staff room were the reasons for which Mr. Peter was dismissed from service. Mr. Peter was then given compulsory retirement after he approached the High Court. Disposing of the case, Justice Vinod K. Sharma, in an order dated September 13, 2012, held that the punishment imposed on the litigant was “shockingly disproportionate” to the allegations levelled against him. He also ordered immediate reinstatement of the teacher in service and directed the school management to give him full back wages from the time his services were discontinued.

In a writ appeal, the school management contended that the punishment cannot be considered “shockingly disproportionate” to the misconduct of the petitioner.

The division bench dismissed the appeal and directed the management to immediately reinstate Mr. Peter in service.

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