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Tripura HC Upholds Compulsory Retirement of Teacher for Administrating Severe Physical Punishment to Student

Tripura HC Upholds Compulsory Retirement of Teacher for Administrating Severe Physical Punishment to Student

21.09.2021 | Education News | EduLegaL  | www.edulegal.org | mail@edulegal.in

Tripura High Court in Chandan Shil Sharma Vs. State of Tripura and Ors. — WP(C) No.570 of 2021, refused to interfere in the order of the Director of Elementary Education which imposed punishment of compulsory retirement on an undergraduate teacher for punishing a Class III girl student severely. The court held that the quantum of punishment, imposed on the teacher, was not disproportionate.

The single-judge bench of Hon’ble Chief Justice Mr. Akil Kureshi held:

“In view of such facts, it cannot be stated that the punishment imposed by the disciplinary authority and confirmed by the appellate authority is disproportionate to the proved charge, leave alone being so grossly disproportionate as to shock the conscience of the Court, a parameter which Courts apply for interfering with the punishment handed down by the competent authority pursuant to a validly constituted domestic inquiry.”

The petitioner was appointed as an undergraduate teacher in the year 1997. The incident took place in a government school on 06.05.2019 where the petitioner handed severe physical punishment to a Class III girl student for making a mistake in the arithmetic class. The petitioner hit the student with a bamboo stick on her legs, caught her by the neck, and shook her up and down almost choking her, and slapped her several times. The girl was hospitalized as she had a fever along with injuries of the punishment.

The Inspector of School after not being satisfied by the explanation of the petitioner instituted an inquiry against him. On 25.09.2020, the Inquiry Officer recorded his report where allegations made against the petitioner were not resisted by the petitioner and he accepted his guilt. This mode of punishment is prohibited under Section 17 of the Right to Education Act, 2009. The report was presented to the Disciplinary Authority, which by order dated 01.01.2021 imposed punishment of compulsory retirement. The appeal of the petitioner against the order of the Disciplinary Authority was dismissed, leading to the filing of this petition.

The petitioner submitted that Disciplinary Authority should have taken a lenient view as he had accepted the charge and regretted his actions. The petitioner further assured that such incidents shall not occur in the future. The court observed that the quantum of punishment awarded was not disproportionate. The court cannot interfere in orders of competent authority unless the punishment is so disproportionate that it shakes the conscience of the court. The court held:

“The conduct of the petitioner cannot be seen as a momentary loss of discretion on account of some unacceptable but otherwise explainable reason. The petitioner has tried to put it as a one of lapse on his part as something which is conventional though no longer legal. He also attributes his behavior to “sudden provocation” which I utterly fail to understand, appreciate and accept.”

The court further held:

“I do not even find that the punishment imposed in the present case is disproportionate, not to speak of being so disproportionate as to shock the conscience of the Court.”

Concluding, the court dismissed the petition upholding the punishment of compulsory retirement, holding that assurances of the petitioner that such events will not recur are not sufficient grounds for interfering with the orders of the Disciplinary Authority.

Vaibhav Karadale | Research Intern | EduLegaL

Swapna Iyer | Legal Editor | EduLegaL

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