After working for 18 years at a government-run school in West Bengal, a man lost his job as a judge ruled he had been appointed only temporarily. Now the Supreme Court has upheld the court's decision, saying it could not show any "misplaced sympathy" towards the teacher.
Justice Markandey Katju of the Supreme Court rejected the teacher Banibrata Ghosh's plea last week and said: "The counsel for the teacher says we should take a compassionate view of the matter since as a result of this judgement he would be thrown in the state of unemployment. We are afraid we cannot show any such misplaced sympathy."
Ghosh, a resident of Krishnanagar in West Bengal's Nadia district, got a temporary job for six months in January 1991 as a bio-science teacher in Shimulia High School against a leave vacancy.
His appointment in the government-run school was repeatedly extended with due approval by the state authorities till June 1992, when the teacher in whose place he was appointed resigned, giving rise to a permanent vacancy.
Ghosh then requested the school authorities that he be considered for appointment against the permanent vacancy in view of his one-and-a-half years of service.
Finding the authorities a trifle reluctant, he moved the Calcutta High Court in August 1992 seeking his appointment in the school. Ghosh's plea first came up for hearing on Dec 15, 1992.
After a preliminary hearing of the matter, a single judge bench, through its interim and temporary ruling, ordered the state government to appoint Ghosh.
The government eventually appointed Ghosh after some delay and over time apparently forgot his lawsuit.
But 10 years later, Ghosh's lawsuit eventually came up for hearing and another single-judge bench of the court scrapped his appointment, saying that his predecessor had made the appointment only temporarily and wrongly.
A division bench of the high court, however, set aside the single-judge bench order that scrapped Ghosh's appointment and ordered the government to reinstate him.
The state government approached the Supreme Court and finally won the case against the hapless teacher last week, securing the apex court's approval to show him the door once again. Ghosh had been teaching in the school for all these 18 years, his lawyer said.
The apex court, however, said it was not averse to some rules being bent so that Ghosh could become eligible for fresh employment.
"Considering that Ghosh's writ remained pending for 10 years and thereby he might now have become barred by age for fresh employment, we recommend that the government may consider condoning the age bar for Ghosh's fresh appointment," Katju said.
The court's recommendation is not binding on the government.