Orders disbursement of all monetary benefits due to petitioner's husband

Once a government-aided college permits its teaching staff to take voluntary retirement from service, it would not be open to the Directorate of Collegiate Education to interfere and insist on reversal of the permission granted, the Madras High Court Bench here has said.

Justice M. Venugopal made the observation while allowing a petition filed by the wife of a former physical director of an arts college in Aruppukottai of Virudhunagar district.

The judge ordered disbursement of all monetary benefits due to her husband who was permitted to go on voluntary retirement in 2001.

According to the petitioner, her husband joined the college in September 1970 and served until February 1995 when he became mentally unstable and left the house without anyone's knowledge. His whereabouts were not known for more than two years.

He was brought back home in a very sick condition from an ashram in Vadalur by some individuals.

After medical treatment, he recovered gradually and gave a representation to the college in September 1998 to permit him to join duty after treating his long absence as leave on loss of pay.

Thereafter, he made an application expressing his desire to take voluntary retirement, as he had already completed 25 years of service, by paying three months salary in lieu of the three months notice period.

The money was also remitted in the government account.

The application was not considered for long. In the mean time, he suffered huge mental strain, became insane and left the house once again in July 2000. Subsequently, the college committee accepted the voluntary retirement application and relieved him from service on August 17, 2001.

The relieving order was sent for approval. But the Director of Collegiate Education refused to grant approval on August 13, 2002 and instead asked the college to initiate departmental action against the petitioner's husband for his unauthorised absence.

Acceding to the directive, the college committee passed a resolution on March 27, 2006 dismissing the petitioner's husband from service with effect from February 11, 1995, the date from when he failed to attend to duty and hence the present writ petition.

“Since the college accepted the voluntary retirement of the petitioner's husband, the dismissal action of the college at a later point of time by means of a communication of the Director of Collegiate Education is of no avail and it is only non-est (non existent) in the eye of law,” the judge said.

The judgement was reserved in the Madurai Bench of the High Court and delivered at its Principal Seat in Chennai.