Staff Reporter

To ascertain whether he was suffering from mental illness for nine years

He went on medical leave for a month on September 9, 1991

Leave was extended twice by mail; later there was no communication

MADURAI: The Madras High Court ordered Tuesday a medical examination to ascertain whether a constable of the prison department (since dismissed from service) was suffering from mental illness for nine years.

Disposing of a writ appeal filed by the Inspector-General of Prisons in the Madurai Bench, Chief Justice A.K. Ganguly and Justice Prabha Sridevan said the appellant could decide on reinstating the constable after the medical examination.

M. Lukman Hakeem, of Velipattinam in Ramanathapuram, was serving as a Grade II constable at the central prison here until he went on medical leave for a month on September 9, 1991.

The leave was extended twice by mail, and there was no communication thereafter.

On January 3, 1992, the Prison Superintendent served the constable with a notice, asking him to explain why he should not be removed from service after being declared a deserter. The constable’s mother, who replied to the notice, said her son was suffering from mental illness and undergoing treatment at the Erwadi dharga in Ramanathapuram district.

However, the Superintendent passed orders on March 6, 1992, removing the constable from service. Thereafter, the matter was put in cold storage.

All of a sudden, the constable appeared before the officials on November 3, 2000, and requested that he be reinstated on the basis of a medical fitness certificate. As his plea was rejected, he filed a writ petition.

Allowing the petition on November 1, 2007, a single judge held that there were no documents to show that the petitioner had deliberately abstained from duty and ordered his reinstatement.

In his writ appeal, the Inspector-General of Prisons said the constable went abroad for nine years and made false claims of mental imbalance to get back into government service.