K. Surendra Mohan, J. -
(1.) Both these appeals are filed by a High School Assistant (Mathematics) of Mayyanad Higher Secondary School against a common judgment dated 19.12.2016 of the learned Single Judge finally disposing of W.P.(C).Nos.8284 and 20801 of 2016. Writ Petition No.8284 of 2016 was filed by the Manager of the Mayyanad School, which is an aided school, challenging an order passed by the Educational Authorities directing reinstatement of the fifth respondent. W.P(C).No.20801 of 2016 was filed by the appellant herein, seeking enforcement of the order reinstating him. Both the writ petitions were considered by the learned Single Judge together. As per the judgment appealed against, the learned Single Judge has, finding that the revision filed by the Manager of the School was pending before the Government, directed the Government to pass final orders thereon, within a period of one month. Though the revision stood posted to 15.01.2017 for hearing, the learned Government Pleader informs us that, the hearing has been postponed indefinitely in view of the pendency of these appeals. The appellant is aggrieved mainly by the continuance of his suspension, indefinitely. Though he was directed to be reinstated on a number of occasions, his reinstatement has been stalled by the Manager, who has challenged such orders, repeatedly. Writ Appeal No.2509 of 2016 is filed against the judgment in W.P.(C).No.8284 of 2016 while Writ Appeal No.2508 of 2016 is filed against the judgment in W.P.(C).No.20801 of 2016. Since the parties as well as as the issues are common, they are considered and disposed of together. The parties as well as the documents are referred to in the manner in which they are referred to in Writ Appeal No.2509 of 2016.
(2.) As already noticed above, the appellant is a High School Assistant of the first respondent's school, which is an aided school. He was suspended from service on 26.08.2011 on the basis of allegations of improper behaviour having sexual overtones, directed against girl students of Standard VIII of the school. Therefore, disciplinary action was initiated against him, he was issued with a memo of charges dated 26.08.2011 and was placed under suspension. He continues to be under suspension till date. Though more than five years have passed, the appellant complains that he has been continuing under suspension on the basis of the unsubstantiated allegations. As a consequence, he has suffered serious detriment to his service, to the extent of being denied an opportunity to be promoted as Headmaster of the school, despite being the senior most teacher. Our attention is drawn to Ext.R5(a) (Ext.P8 in W.P.(C)No.20801 of 2016), which is an enquiry report of the Additional Director of Public Instructions to contend that absolutely no evidence was available in support of the allegations made against the appellant, by the Enquiry Officer. In view of the enquiry report, the Director of Public Instructions had ordered reinstatement of the appellant on 18.01.2016, as evidenced by Ext.P9 in W.P.(C).No.20801 of 2016. Our attention is also drawn to Ext.R5(f) in W.P.(C).No.8284 of 2016 to point out that, an enquiry conducted by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Special Branch also had not found any material or evidence to support the charges levelled against the appellant. Despite successive orders passed by the Deputy Director of Education and the Director of Public Instructions, the appellant still continues to remain under suspension, which according to the learned counsel Sri.M.V.Thamban, who appears for the appellant, is without any justification whatsoever. It is therefore contended that, the disciplinary proceedings against the appellant may be continued but, his suspension may be brought to an end. If he is found guilty of any of the charges levelled against him, it would still be open to the first respondent to impose appropriate punishment on him. The learned counsel also objects to the memo of charges served on the appellant, which despite containing a number of allegations, is not accompanied by a statement of allegations. According to the learned counsel, the appellant is being victimised and harassed. The learned Single Judge has declined jurisdiction and has directed the Government to dispose of the revision that is pending before it. According to the learned counsel, the learned Single Judge ought to have directed him to be reinstated.
(3.) Per contra, Adv.Sri.Elvin Peter P.J, who appears for the first respondent Manager, vehemently opposes the contentions of the appellant. According to the learned counsel, the allegations levelled against the appellant are serious. He is a teacher and a person holding fiduciary capacity over his students. Therefore, the conduct that is alleged is very serious and cannot be dismissed lightly. The allegations also affect the reputation of the school and would dissuade parents from sending their children to the institution. Therefore, it was only in the fitness of things that, disciplinary action was initiated against the appellant in the wake of the allegations made by the girl students of his class. The learned counsel points out that, the DEO who conducted the initial enquiry had found substance in the allegations, upon questioning the girl students. However, later on, the Government had directed a de novo enquiry to be conducted and had appointed the Additional Director of Public Instructions to conduct the same. It was accordingly that the second enquiry was conducted. By that time, according to the learned counsel, the girl students had passed out of the school and were reluctant to stick to their earlier allegations. It was for the said reason that, the Additional Director of Public Instructions could not find any evidence to substantiate the charges. It is contended by the learned counsel that, the direction of the Government to conduct a de novo enquiry itself had been the subject matter of challenge before this Court at the instance of the first respondent. As per Ext.P13 judgment, this Court had directed the enquiry to be completed within a stipulated time. It is the report of the said enquiry that is the subject matter of challenge at the instance of the first respondent Manager before the Government. The Manager had also challenged the said report in W.P.(C).No.8284 of 2016. It was to implement the same that the appellant had filed W.P.(C). No.20801 of 2016. According to the learned counsel, therefore, Ext.P14 and the enquiry report have not become final. It was in view of the above that the learned Single Judge has directed the revision to be finally disposed of before any of the reliefs sought for in the respective writ petitions could be granted. It is contended that there are no grounds to interfere with the said judgment.;