Constitutionality of Article 81 B of the Education Code, upheld

Bombay High Court: In the present case, the Petitioner, an erstwhile teacher at KV Aurangabad Cantt. was subject to termination by the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanghatan on charges of moral turpitude involving sexual misconduct with certain female students in the 4th Standard, against which he appealed to the Central Administrative Tribunal. The Writ Petition seeking to impugn the CAT’s decision dated 8th May 2013 was placed before a bench comprising of SS Shinde and VK Jadhav, JJ, who affirmed the termination order.

It was argued on the Petitioner’s behalf that principles of natural justice had been violated by not giving him opportunity to be heard at various stages of the enquiry instituted against him, that he had not been given access to the statements and complaints of the students, that the report was not fair etc. Article 81 B of the Education Code of Kendriya Vidyalaya was contended to be ultra vires to Article 14 of the Constitution on grounds of not tendering sufficient opportunity to the delinquent and of  providing arbitrary power to the Authority.

The Court refused to accept any of Petitioner’s contentions. Insofar as Article 81 B of the Education Code provides for an extension of Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965, it also empowers the Commissioner to terminate the services of an employee guilty of sexual misconduct, if, after a summary enquiry, his guilt is prima facie evident. This could be effected by three months’ pay in lieu of notice, for permanent employees, which was done in the instant case. The Court approvingly cited Avinash Nagra v. Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (1997) 2 SCC 534, and noted that two safeguards are ensured under the rules devised, which are: the record of reasons for the decision to not proceed to a full enquiry under the rules and the mandate to post those reasons to the Chairman of KVS, i.e. Minister, Human Resources Development. The Court found that the facts showed that adequate opportunity had been given to the Petitioner to represent his side, and principles of natural justice had been followed.  [Gokul v Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine Bom 3549, decided on 7-06-2016]

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