The Supreme Court has reversed an Allahabad High Court order to reinstate a Kumaon Engineering College lecturer who resigned in view of charges of molesting a girl student but later claimed that the principal forcibly obtained his resignation.
Allowing an appeal filed by the Secretary, Technical Education, Uttar Pradesh and others, a Bench of Justice AK Mathur and Justice LS Panta said the November 2, 1999 order of the High Court "is not legal and justified".
The lecturer, LM Upadhyay was accused of molesting a girl student when he along with another college staff took her to Civil Hospital Ranikhet for treatment in March 1993. After joining the college back the victim appeared to be "upset and terribly disturbed". Later, she lodged a formal complaint with the principal. The allegations were found to be correct in an inquiry conducted by another teacher of the college and later by a Magistrate too.
The High Court had ordered the reinstatement of LM Upadhyay, a lecturer in Mathematics, on the ground that the principal had no authority or jurisdiction to accept his resignation as his appointing authority was the Board of Governor's of the college and there was no acceptance from the Board.
The High Court had further noted that the state government, and not the Board of Governors, accepted his resignation long after his resignation on January 1, 1994.
However, the apex court set aside the High Court's order on the ground that Upadhyay was on probation and the appointing authority was empowered to judge his fitness for work or suitability to the post.
"In our view, the services of LM Upadhyay during probation period could have been terminated by the authority, by the principal and the Board of Governors had adopted a reasonable and fair mode of accepting his pending letter of resignation instead of terminating his services for unsuitability," it observed.