A teacher of Haryana Government school was dismissed by the government after he raised an objection against the irrational and impractical order passed by the State Education Department directing for the distribution of raw ration to the students under the Mid Day Meal (MDM) scheme during the ongoing lockdown due to Covid- 19.
The controversy began when the teacher uploaded a video on his Facebook. The Haryana Government on March, 20 had directed the teachers to distribute 550 gm wheat and 450 gm rice along
with cooking cost of Rs.44.80 to the students of primary classes and 825 gm wheat and 675 gm rice alongwith cooking cost of Rs.67.10 to the students of upper primary classes. The amount of ration and cooking cost was for ten days. The teacher called the scheme as irrational and impractical. His objection was that this is not useful for children. How can child of primary class be able to get 550 gram of wheat converted into flour oraur how would they withdraw rupees 44.80 from the bank. He suggested to distribute the cooked food to the children. he further stated that it was just a formality and order was really taken by the government.
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Brief Facts of the Case:
- Ajay Walia, 40, who was working as Training Graduate Teacher (TGT)for English in a Yamunanagar district government school was sacked after he described the Haryana Education Department’s decision on distribution of mid day meal as tughlaq’s edict.
- The Haryana Government dismissed him after he objected to an irrational and impractical order of the education department ordering distribution of raw ration to students under mid day meal scheme during the lockdown.
- He had highlighted the practical difficulties in the distribution during the lockdown citing violation of the social distancing norms.
- He had allegedly uploaded a video on his Facebook, objecting to the state government’s directions to provide dry ration to children during lockdown.
- The state government dismissed Walia on March 23 by exercising the doctrine of pleasure under Article 311 of the Constitution of India without any notice, warning or inquiry.
- The dismissal order to Walia said, “you had not only instigated/provoked the teachers / MDM in-charges in the state of Haryana by addressing them not to comply with directions and guidelines but also called the offices by un-parliamentary nomenclature- Mohammad Bin Tughlaq.
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Legal Stand Out point:
Ajay Walia had been dismissed by the state government by exercising the doctrine of pleasure under the Article 310-311 of Constitution of India without any notice, warning or any inquiry. Article 310 of Indian constitution incorporates the doctrine of pleasure. Expressly provides that all persons members of the defense services or the Civil services of the Union or of all India services hold office during the pleasure of the president. Similarly, members of the Air India services hold office doing the pleasure of the governor. But the powers given to the president or the governor under this article are not absolute. Article 310 itself places restrictions and limitations on the exercise of the pleasure under article 310. It is limited by article 311 sub clause 2 of the constitution. The services of permanent government servant cannot be terminated except in accordance with rules made under article 309, subject to the procedure in article 311 ( 2 ) of the constitution and fundamental rights.
Restrictions on the doctrine of pleasure – the constitution lays down the following limitations on the exercise of the doctrine of pleasure:
- The pleasure of the president or governor is controlled by provisions of article 311, so the field covered by article 311 is excluded from the operation of the doctrine of pleasure.
- The tenure expressly provided for certain posts in the Indian Constitution are excluded from the operation of the doctrine of pleasure.
- The doctrine of pleasure is subject to the fundamental rights.
Constitutional safeguards to civil servants:
- No person holding a civil post under the union and the states shall be dismissed, or removed by authorities subordinate to that by which he was appointed.
- No such person shall be “dismissed”, “removed” or “reduced” in rank except after an enquiry in which he has been informed of the charges against him and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges.
Decision of the Court:
The Court observed that the State Government dismissed Amit Walia without proper inquiry of the matter and also the petition was not given a chance to be heard which is the violation of the requirements of Doctrine of Pleasure.
Justice Jai Shree Thakur passed ordered a stay while bearing a petition filed by Amit Walia. Justice Thakur has also issued a notice to the Haryana education department to file its reply to the contentions raised by Walia in his petition. Haryana accept the notice correspondents and seeks some time to file reply. The case is adjourned to July 31. Till the next date of hearing the impugned orders are kept in abeyance.
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Describing someone as Mohammad Bin Tughlaq, the Sultan of Delhi in 14th Century, cannot be called as Un-parliamentary. Also, the Indian Constitution offers certain protection to the civil servants that are to be complied with by the government. As claimed by Amit Walia, he was given no opportunity to be heard. He denied to delete the video from the Facebook account and uploaded another video claiming to have support of teachers’ union and other quarters. In this video he explained how the government’s decision asking teachers to distribute dry ration and money was irrational and impractical. He further stated that distributing raw ration to the children is of no use for them. If the government really wanted to help, it should have asked them to distribute cooked food items, which otherwise had helped the children during lockdown.
The Court is of the opinion that raising genuine questions is not disrespect to the Government and is not wrong in any sense. So the orders for the dismissal of the teacher are set aside.
This post is written by Riya Rana.
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