Orissa HC orders reinstatement of physically challenged teacher

  • | Friday | 15th April, 2022

Cuttack, Apr 15 (PTI) The Orissa High Court has ordered the reinstatement of a differently-abled junior teacher, who was disengaged from service on charge of faking his disability certificate while joining as a "Sikshya Sahayak" on April 29, 2011. After three years of service as a "Sikshya Sahayak" at Kokodaguda school in Nabarangpur district, Santosh Kumar Padhi was appointed as a junior teacher in the same school with effect from April 28, 2014. However, Padhi was disengaged on February 5, 2018. He moved the High Court challenging the order and prayed for quashing the order. Justice S K Mishra on his April 5, 2022 order said: "For the foregoing reasons therefore, this court finds that the impugned order of disengagement of the petitioner from service is unsustainable in the eye of law. The impugned order is hereby quashed." The court also directed to re-instate Padhi in service with full back wages and all other service benefits with effect from the date of his disengagement by passing necessary orders to such effect within a period of four weeks from the date of communication of this order or on production of certified copy thereof by the petitioner. Justice Mishra also observed that the disability certificate of the teacher was issued by proper authority and therefore proved to be genuine. "The only objection that could be raised against the certificate is that the same is not in the proper statutory form, but then when the content of the said certificate has been proved to be correct, mere technicality cannot stand on the way of conferring appropriate benefits on the person concerned," Justice Mishra noted in the order. The court also held that the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, who is statutorily duty bound to ensure protection of the rights of persons with disabilities has in the case at hand, acted entirely contrary to the legislature. On the question of the teacher’s disability, the court observed that: "obviously, the teacher cannot be blamed for the same. Thus, once it is admitted that the certificate was in fact issued and there is subsequent proof that the recitals of the said certificate are not in any manner false, a hyper-technical view cannot be taken to deprive the petitioner from the benefits accrued to him on the basis of such certificate." The teacher has undergone test of the medical board twice on May 21, 1999 which found him 42 per cent disabled and later on December 18, 2016 with remark of 40 per cent disability on his left leg. The order also said: "It must be kept in mind that the state is supposed to be a model employer and as such, cannot be allowed to take actions that are arbitrary and not countenanced in law. In the instant case, the authorities are guilty of approbation and re-probation, blowing hot and cold thereby adversely affecting the right to livelihood of the petitioner included under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. PTI AAM RG RG

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