MADRAS HC RAISES CONCERN OVER GIRL EDUCATION5 min read

Aparna Rajesh

BACKGROUND

This is a case related to the misbehaviour of a Principal of the polytechnical institute in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu, Dharmapuri District Cooperative Sugar Mills Polytechnic. The issue dates back to the year 1997. The principal of this polytechnic institute was alleged of indulging in homosexual activities and apart from that, was involved in administrative misuse. The accused principal, D. Ganesan, was accused of misusing the administrative fund allotted to the polytechnic. Sexual harassment allegations were also raised against him by female students. The charges against him also involved the use of derogatory comments against the teachers in the institute as well as issuing the same in a filthy language in the notice board of the institute, letting the students view the negative remarks on their teachers.

The charges against the Principal, being grave in nature, the Chairman of the institution, using his authority, has taken appropriate actions against the Principal, barring him from performing his professional activities. He was suspended and taking into account the seriousness of the actions committed by him, decided to cut down his remunerations during the time of suspension. The order of his suspension was rolled out on October 13, 1997. Therefore, it stands unethical for a person who imparts education and moreover is grave injustice towards all those who are affected by his actions.

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CURRENT ISSUE

The principal, D. Ganesan, on the grounds of these accusations were removed from the position as per the order issued in the name of the Chairman of the polytechnic on May 25th, 2002. His subsistence allowance was also cut down. Against this decision, D. Ganesan has moved the High Court of Madras. In his petition, he has raised a complaint against the Chairman of the Polytechnic Institute, Dharmapuri. The petitioner, in his complaint, has questioned the move by the chairman in removing him from the position.

The writ petition filed by D. Ganesan against the chairman was considered by the Madras HC and it ruled in favour of the respondent expressing concern over girl education in the state. The Madras HC dismissed the plea of the petitioner approving the act of Chairman to be ideal, considering the intensity of the misbehaviour of the petitioner and upheld the advantages of girl education. Also, the court accepted the petitioner’s subsistence allowance being cut down to 50% of the actual allowance, declaring that the Chairman, is the one who appointed the principal, had the right to dismiss him as well as take actions against him. The Court gave its judgement referring to the Avinash Nagra vs. Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti and others case of 1997.

QUESTION OF LAW

The Court held that out of the nine charges raised against him, except two, all others were proven and hence considers the action initiated by the respondent as appropriate. The proceedings of the case were headed by Justice M. Duraiswamy. The court held that the petitioner has himself accepted that he was appointed by the respondent and therefore, is in favour of the decision of the respondent. The court also tells that what the respondent has done is right in the light of the gravity of the actions done by the petitioner.

The court also interpreted the case by comparing it with the Avinash Nagra vs. Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti and others, which is a case of utmost significance as a lot of its rulings are crucial in relation to the sexual harassment of students in colleges. While delivering the judgement the court raised the importance of keeping away this kind of behaviour from the part of people since it will hinder the security of girl students. Girl education will help the country in many ways and hence is an asset for the nation. Therefore, everyone responsible has to comply with the rules and should work together to weed out any issues that come in the way of students’ access to education. Citing the importance of female education, the court also explained how only people from the middle class are only sending their girl child to schools. For that, the school and college authorities will have to ensure safety and the security of the students

Thus, the Madras HC dismissed the case by stating that the respondent’s action is in jurisdiction drawn according to his authority and was accepted by the Appellate Authority and does not take into account the position of girl education and hence stands legal.

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CONCLUSION

The judgement in the case is truly important as it upholds the values of the society especially in relation to women at a time when atrocities against women are filling every page of the daily newspaper. The court, by mentioning about the absence of an adequate number of female students in the education sector, has explained the benefits that the country will reap when females are encouraged to go to schools and colleges. It also throws light on a very vital factor, that is, the creation of a proper environment for women to study, providing them the confidence that those who impart education, ensure the security of the students. Thus, the court’s judgement is not only an answer to the petition but a judgement that goes deep into the social issues that surround the case.

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