The Rajasthan High Court recently invalidated a decision made by the State Government, which terminated a Physical Education Teacher (PET) from their position, purportedly due to the submission of a counterfeit sports certificate for employment. This decision was overturned because the teacher in question was not provided with a notice of allegations, and no investigation was carried out against them.
The petitioner claimed that they applied for the job of Physical Education Teacher Grade-II in 1998 as per an advertisement. However, the officials didn’t consider the petitioner’s degree as a valid qualification for the job. The petitioner brought the same case earlier to the Rajasthan HC and the court had ordered the officials to re-evaluate the petitioner’s qualifications, including bonus points for a state-level certificate. If the petitioner was found to be qualified, then the officials should consider them for the job, the court ordered on November 18, 2005.
Then, after checking the petitioner’s documents and sports certificate, the petitioner was officially given the job on October 31, 2006. However, on February 14, 2007, the authorities fired the petitioner, claiming that the documents and sports certificate provided by the petitioner were fake and made up.
After then, on May 18, 2007, the officials changed their decision and cancelled the dismissal order. Instead, they said they would investigate the matter further.
The petitioner argued that the authorities fired the petitioner again on July 11, 2007, without giving any notice or conducting an investigation as required by the Rajasthan Civil Services Rules of 1958. However, the officials claimed that the dismissal was based on the belief that the petitioner’s sports certificate was fake, even though no proper procedure was followed.
After listening to both sides, the court justified that making a decision that affects someone without letting them have a say is considered unfair. Furthermore, it’s a well-established legal principle that if a removal from a job doesn’t give the person a reasonable opportunity to defend themselves, in violation of the safeguards provided by Article 311(2) of the constitution, then that decision is legally invalid and doesn’t exist.
Additionally, the court highlighted that the petitioner was never given a warning or a list of accusations against them, and they were not provided with any documents to explain why their sports certificates were believed to be fake and made up.
The court emphasised that the petitioner, being a permanent government employee, had the protection of Article 311(2) of the Indian Constitution. Therefore, it was crucial for the authorities to provide the petitioner with a chance to defend himself before terminating his employment. Since this opportunity was not granted, the court annulled the dismissal order.
The court allowed the authorities to conduct a new investigation into the matter following the legal procedures with the requirement to complete it within six months.