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Allahabad High Court stays suspension of Primary School Principal

The Allahabad High Court has stayed the suspension of Smt Sarita Dubey, Principal of Primary School, Vishun Das Ka Pura, Soraon, Block & Tehsil Soraon, District Prayagraj and has directed to allow her to work as the Principal and pay her regular salary.

A Single Bench of Justice Manjive Shukla passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Smt Sarita Dubey.

The Petitioner through the petition has challenged the order dated 16.10.2023 passed by the District Basic Education Officer, Prayagraj whereby petitioner’s services have been placed under suspension in contemplation of disciplinary proceedings.

Senior Advocate appearing for the petitioner has submitted that the husband of the petitioner, Avneesh Kumar Dubey has been working in Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology, Prayagraj and in the said capacity, he has been allotted official quarters in the campus of the said institute.

It has further been submitted that though petitioner is working as Headmistress in a Primary School run by U.P Basic Education Board at District Prayagraj but since her husband is residing at the campus of M.N.N.I.T, therefore, petitioner is also residing there.

Senior Advocate appearing for the petitioner has apprised the court that since there was some dispute between husband of the petitioner and college authorities with respect to her husband’s official quarter therefore, the Director, M.N.N.I.T, Prayagraj has written a letter to the Assistant Director of Education (Basic), Prayagraj Division, Prayagraj and on the basis of allegations levelled in the said letter, petitioner’s services have been placed under suspension vide order dated 16.10.2023.

Senior Advocate appearing for the petitioner has argued that there is no misconduct on the part of the petitioner relating to her services, therefore, disciplinary proceedings against the petitioner cannot be initiated under the U.P Basic Education Staff Rules, 1973 read with the Uttar Pradesh Government Servant (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1999.

Senior Advocate has further argued that even if it is assumed that the charge levelled against the petitioner is ultimately found proved, she cannot be subjected to any major penalty and ultimately she can be given a minor penalty therefore, in view of the Rule 4 of the Rules of 1999, suspension of petitioner’s services is not at all warranted as Rule 4 of the Rules of 1999 categorically provides that suspension should not be resorted in normal circumstance and services should be placed under suspension only where charges are so serious that if they are found proved, ultimately a major penalty can be imposed.

Senior Advocate appearing for the petitioner has concluded his arguments by submitting that in the given circumstances, suspension of the petitioner is not at all warranted, therefore, order dated 16.10.2023 passed by the District Basic Education Officer, Prayagraj is not sustainable in the eyes of law.

On the other hand, Kushmondeya Shahi, counsel appearing for the Respondents No 2 & 4 has opposed the petition and has submitted that since petitioner’s conduct was not found up to the mark during her stay in the campus of M.N.N.I.T, Prayagraj therefore, the Director has forwarded a report to the department and accordingly, petitioner’s services have been placed under suspension.

Kushmondeya Shahi, counsel appearing for the District Basic Education Officer, though tried to justify the suspension order but could not submit a suitable explanation as to even if the charges levelled against the petitioner are ultimately found proved, how a major penalty can be imposed against the petitioner.

“I have considered the rival submissions advanced by the counsels appearing for the parties and I find that petitioner’s services have been placed under suspension in connection with a charge related to her conduct which is not even remotely connected with her posting in the department of Basic Education. This court also finds that even if the charges levelled against the petitioner are taken on their face value, no person with prudent mind can say that if the said charges are found proved, a major penalty can be imposed against the petitioner”, the Court observed.

The Court granted four weeks time to file counter-affidavit for the respondents and two weeks time to file Rejoinder-Affidavit. List immediately after six weeks.

“Till further orders of this court, operation and implementation of the order dated 16.10.2023, to the extent of suspension of petitioner’s services, shall remain stayed.

Petitioner shall be allowed to work on the post of Headmistress in Primary School, Vishun Das Ka Pura, Soraon, Block & TehsilSoraon, District Prayagraj and shall be paid her salary as and when it becomes due.

It is made clear that this court has not stayed the disciplinary proceedings initiated against the petitioner, therefore, it is open for the respondents to complete the disciplinary proceedings expeditiously”, the Court ordered.

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