Staff Reporter

"Petitioner was entitled to be absorbed in some other school"

MADURAI: "July 16, 2004 was yet another black day in the history of modern India, when 94 young Indians, all schoolchildren of tender age, were burnt to death on their school premises (in Kumbakonam). While the parents lost their children, the petitioner lost her job... though she was not responsible for the fire accident," said Justice Makena Eswara Narasimha Patrudu in his orders on a writ petition moved by one of the schoolteachers before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.

Referring to the steps taken by the State Government to transfer all the other children studying in the aided school, which was de-recognised immediately after the accident, to other schools in the locality, the Judge said the court would have appreciated had the Government showed the same care in absorbing the teachers also in other schools.

Instead, the services of the petitioner, V. Usha Rani of Thanjavur, were not utilised and she was left in the lurch without any communication whatsoever for more than two years. She was also not paid her salaries.

Though the Education Department had not passed any order of retrenchment against the petitioner, the judge said as the Government had failed to utilise her services for a long time, it would amount to retrenchment. Besides, pointing out that the numerous representations made by the petitioner to the authorities concerned had gone in vain, the judge said, "It is unfortunate that officials in-charge of education in the State and holding high positions in the Government did not take care to remove or absorb the teacher."

Stating that the petitioner was entitled to be absorbed in some other school with continuity of service, the judge directed the Chief Secretary to pass necessary orders within a month.