Read Order: Anil Kumar v. State of Haryana and others
Chandigarh, April 25, 2022: While considering a Letters patent Appeal by a teacher accused of raping and molesting two of his minor girl-students against the order of the Director of School Education suspending the petitioner from his service without conducting inquiry into the allegations, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has upheld the decision of the Single Judge Bench which affirmed the order of the Director of School Education suspending the petitioner.
Highlighting the reasoning for arriving at such a conclusion, the Bench of Justices G.S. Sandhawalia and Vikas Suri held,“If the argument of counsel for the appellant is now to be accepted, it would amount to the girls being put through another round of embarrassing questions, which would lead to the further humiliation of an incident that had taken place a decade earlier. The scales of justice can never be so insensitive as not to allow the ugly scars of the unfortunate incident to ever heal.”
This decision of the Court was also backed by the fact that the petitioner on being released on bail in an FIR registered against him for the commission of such heinous crimes, prevailed over the prosecutrix and her family thus leading her parents to turn hostile before the Trial Court, leading to his acquittal.
In this case, the allegations against the petitioner were that he raped a class Xth student (female) on two occasions in the school where he was serving in his capacity as a teacher. It was also alleged that he molested the younger sister of the prosecutrix and also showed pornographic movies on TV and mobile phone.
Resultantly, an FIR under Sections 451, 354, 376B IPC was lodged against him. He was also dispensed with his service without conduct of inquiry. The reason given by the school for such suspension was that it would further cause mental agony to the two minor girls and will bring them a social stigma.
When the matter reached the Single Judge Bench of the High Court via a writ petition, the Single Judge upheld the order of dismissal passed by the Director of School Education. Hence, the present appeal was filed.
The Counsel for the petitioner vehemently submitted that the underlying principle is that some reason has to be recorded by the authority to dispense with the services of the appellant, as per the above said provisions and in the absence of same, the order is not justified. It was argued that the order of the Director of School Education was passed while dispensing with the regular inquiry and following the procedure laid down under Rule 7.2 (b) & 3 of the Haryana Civil Services (Punishment & Appeal) Rules, 1987 (‘1987 Rules’) read with Article 311 (2) (b) of the Constitution of India.
The Counsel for the State on the other hand has submitted that the orders of the authority below and of the learned Single Judge are justified in the facts and circumstances and it is not a fit case for interference. It was further argued that the dismissal order was passed as it was not reasonably practicable to hold a disciplinary inquiry and producing the victim as a prosecution witness in disciplinary proceedings was not feasible as it would result in further trauma of cross-examination.
After considering the rival submissions, the Court opined at the very outset that the impugned order of dismissal as such is justified in the facts and circumstances of the case and no case is made out for interference, though counsel for the appellant has argued that he was also acquitted of the charge.
The Court observed that the petitioner after being released on bail misused his liberty and prevailed over not only the prosecutrix and her sister but also upon her parents who resultantly, did not support the prosecution version and that the trial court also did not call for the records of medical examination of the girls.
Further, the Court perused the evidence on record and from the perusal of the list of the witnesses, the Court noted that there was medical evidence available in the shape of Dr Archana Aggarwal and Dr Sunil Kumar, who were arrayed as witnesses for the prosecution. It was also noticed that the charge was framed on September 03, 2010, and the evidence of all the four witnesses was recorded on January 09, 2010, and unfortunately immediately thereafter, on the same date, he was acquitted. Further, the Court also was of the opinion that the Trial Court failed to refer to the Medico-Legal Report of the elder girl which would go on to show that the elder girl who had been raped had an old healed tear present in the hymen and the Vagina admitted two fingers.
It was also observed by the Bench that at the time of the incident both the girls were minors, and their father was a labourer. Thus, in view of the Court, the apprehension in the mind of the employer came true to the extent that the appellant managed to prevail upon the relevant witnesses to earn an acquittal on account of the fact that the witnesses were declared hostile.
Thus, against this backdrop, the Court opined that if the case advanced by the petitioner’s counsel was to be accepted, it would amount to the girls being put through another round of embarrassing questions, which would lead to the further humiliation of an incident that had taken place a decade earlier. The scales of justice can never be so insensitive as not to allow the ugly scars of the unfortunate incident to ever heal.
Also, on the vires of the discretion exercised by the Director, the Court noted that the unfortunate incident created a lot of hue and cry and thus, the situation in the area was on a boil on account of the misconduct of the appellant and on that account, the Director of School Education exercised his extraordinary jurisdiction to dispense with the departmental inquiry under the provisions of the 1987 Rules read with Article 311 (2) (b) of the Constitution of India.
“The said decision cannot be faulted in any manner in the facts and circumstances of the present case and therefore, the order of the learned Single Judge cannot be faulted in any manner”, held the Court.
Accordingly, finding no merit in the appeal, the same was dismissed.