(Prayer: Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying to issue Writ of Certiorarified Mandams to call for the records pertaining to the order passed by the 2nd respondent in Na.Ka.No.905/Aa1/2019 dated 03.08.2019 and quash the same and direct the respondents to settle the terminal benefits and consequent pensionary benefits to the petitioner, by considering the petitioner's representations dated 20.09.2018 and 18.02.2019.)
1. This writ petition has been filed challenging the order dated 03.08.2019 passed by the second respondent rejecting the petitioner's request for settlement of his terminal benefits and consequential pensionary benefits. The brief facts leading to the filing of this writ petition are as follows:-
2. The petitioner passed +2 examination in Andhra Pradesh. He joined Teacher Training Course during the year 1983-1984 at Sanjay Gandhi Teacher Training Institute, Chebroal, Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh. After completion of the course, certificates were issued to the petitioner in January 1997 and according to the petitioner, he secured 50% of marks in the Teacher Training Course and based on the certificate possessed by him, he was appointed in the fourth respondent school. His appointment was approved by the second respondent.
3. The petitioner was served with a Memo dated 29.05.2006 calling upon him to submit explanation on the ground that the petitioner's appointment is irregular as he has not secured 45% of marks in the +2 examination conducted by Government of Andhra Pradesh. According to the petitioner, without affording an opportunity to the petitioner to submit his explanation, the second respondent has passed an order on 30.05.2006 observing that the appointment of the petitioner should not be continued and the amount already paid by way of salary should be recovered from the petitioner and deposited in the Treasury. Based on the order passed by the second respondent on 30.05.2006, the fourth respondent school, which is an aided school, in which, the petitioner was working, has terminated the service of the petitioner. The petitioner filed a writ petition in WP No.17597 of 2006 before this Court and this Court granted interim stay of the termination order and ultimately, the writ petition came to be allowed on 11.12.2009 on the ground that the termination order has been issued without giving an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner and the matter was remanded back to the respondents for fresh consideration.
4. Thereafter, the second respondent directed the fourth respondent school to issue show cause notice to the petitioner and take action against the petitioner to terminate his service by their communication dated 10.05.2010. The third respondent, based on the said communication, instructed the Management to take action against the petitioner by letter dated 04.06.2010. Accordingly, the Management called upon the petitioner to submit his explanation by letter dated 01.10.2010. Since the respondents were referring to the proceedings of the first respondent dated 28.02.2006, the petitioner had made a representation to furnish a copy of the same, which was communicated by the management on 11.10.2010. According to the petitioner, the order passed by the first respondent dated 28.02.2006 was never communicated to him and only after persistent requests he was able to get a copy of the same. According to the petitioner, he came to know that his services have been terminated based upon the evaluation of the Teacher Training Certificate submitted by the petitioner. On evaluation, the Teacher Training Certificate submitted by the petitioner was rejected on 28.02.2006. According to the petitioner, he was not served with a copy of the rejection order and even if the petitioner submits an explanation to the show cause notice issued by the Management, it will not serve any purpose as the first respondent has already evaluated the Teacher Training Certificate submitted by the petitioner and rejected the same.
5. The petitioner filed a writ petition in WP No.6023 of 2011 before this Court on the ground that the rejection order dated 28.02.2006 rejecting the Teacher Training Certificate submitted by the petitioner was issued without affording an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner. In the said writ petition, interim stay of the rejection order dated 28.02.2006 was granted by this Court. When WP No.6023 of 2011 came up for final disposal, the same was disposed of by observing that nothing survives for further adjudication since the petitioner has superannuated already during the pendency of the writ petition, but, however, made it clear that it is open for the respondents to proceed against the petitioner in accordance with law. According to the petitioner, since he reached superannuation and has been relieved from service, there is no employer-employee relationship and therefore, necessarily, the respondents will have to settle the terminal benefits of the petitioner. The petitioner made representations on 20.09.2018 and 18.02.2019 seeking for payment of terminal benefits to him. Since the same has not been paid, the petitioner has filed a Writ Petition in WP No.23001 of 2019 which was disposed of on 04.09.2019 by directing the respondents to consider the representations of the petitioner dated 20.09.2018 and 18.02.2019 requesting for payment of terminal benefits. Pursuant to the said direction, the impugned order came to be passed on 03.08.2019 rejecting the petitioner's representations by giving the following reasons:-
a) The evaluation of the petitioner's Teacher Training Certificate submitted by him was rejected on the ground that the petitioner did not secure 50% of marks, which is the prescribed qualification in the State of Tamil Nadu;
b) The petitioner has also not satisfied the qualification criteria for Secondary Grade Teacher; and
c) The petitioner was allowed to continue in his service only based on the interim order granted by this Court which subsequently came to be dismissed and therefore, cannot be treated as continuity of regular service.
6. A counter affidavit has been filed by the respondents reiterating the contents of the impugned order. According to the respondents, the petitioner is not entitled for any terminal benefits in view of the fact that the Teacher Training Certificate submitted by him was rejected as early as in the year 2006 itself and further, the petitioner is not qualified to be appointed as Secondary Grade Teacher in the State of Tamil Nadu.
7. Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner and the learned Additional Government Pleader for the official respondents.
8. The petitioner has also got superannuated on 30.06.2018. The findings of the respondents after evaluation of the petitioner's Teacher Training Certificate that the petitioner is not eligible to hold the post in the State of Tamil Nadu has also attained finality.
9. For the foregoing reasons, this Court is of the considered view that the only relief this Court can grant in favour of the petitioner is with regard to the contributions made by him during the period of his service in the fourth respondent school.
10. Learned counsel for the petitioner contends that the petitioner has made certain contributions including General Provident Fund which necessarily, the respondents will have to refund.
11. However, the same is disputed by the learned Additional Government Pleader appearing for the respondents who would submit that the petitioner is not entitled for any relief from this Court.
12. However, this Court is of the considered view that no prejudice would be caused to the respondents if the petitioner is allowed to give a representation to the respondents requesting for refund of the alleged contributions made by him during the period of his service in the fourth respondent school and on receipt of the said representation from the petitioner, the respondents shall consider the same and pass orders on merits and in accordance with law after affording a fair hearing to the petitioner. However, the adjudication will have to be made by the r
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espondents in an independent manner, uninfluenced by the impugned order, which is the subject matter of this writ petition. 13. After making it clear that the petitioner is not entitled for any payment from the respondents towards terminal benefits, the impugned order dated 03.08.2019 is hereby quashed by permitting the petitioner to give a fresh representation to the respondents 2 and 3 requesting for payment of his contributions(Employee's contributions alone) within a period of two weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order and on receipt of the said representation, the respondents 2 and 3 shall pass final orders on merits and in accordance with law within a period of twelve weeks thereafter after affording a fair hearing to the petitioner. 14. With the aforesaid direction, the writ petition is disposed of. No costs. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petition is closed.