Tamil Nadu

Police told to register case against school

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Court says retention of teachers’ certificates is unlawful

Declining to return the original testimonials of three teachers who resigned has landed a city school in trouble. Following their petition, the Madras High Court has directed the police to register a case on their complaints against the institution for criminal breach of trust.

Justice S. Nagamuthu said in his opinion, the petitioners’ certificates could not be retained like a ransom. The retention of the certificates was unlawful.

The petitioners, A. John Paul, Belshiya and G. Sreelatha, said they were working as teachers in St. John’s Senior Secondary School and Junior College, Mandaveli, for some years. When joining, the management insisted on the production of their original testimonials such as SSLC, Plus Two and degree certificates. Accordingly, they submitted the certificates. After resigning their jobs in 2010 and 2011, they approached the school for return of their original testimonials, but the management declined to return them. Ultimately, the petitioners filed complaints with the Foreshore Estate police station here in March this year seeking action against the school; but the police had not taken any action so far.

The school management said when the three joined service, an agreement was reached as per which if a teacher left the school in the middle of the academic year he/she should repay three months’ salary.

Only on such payment, the resigned person would be entitled to the return of the testimonials. The petitioners did not repay the three months salary.

The Judge said admittedly as per the agreement, the petitioners had not repaid the salary. This certainly gave right to the school to initiate proceedings for recovering the said sum from the petitioners, provided they were liable to pay the same in accordance with the agreement. “But, in my considered opinion, the certificates of the petitioners cannot be retained like a ransom.”

As per Section 6 of the Transfer of Property Act, there was a prohibition to transfer any right in respect of these certificates.

Thus, the agreement could not be treated as a valuable security creating a legal right in favour of the management to retain the certificates forever despite the demand for their return.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 9:51:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/police-told-to-register-case-against-school/article3658775.ece

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