Teacher cannot be punished if students do not score well: Bombay HC

Mumbai: In a significant ruling, the Bombay High Court has recently held that a teacher cannot be deprived of his or her annual increment if students score low marks, in their subject. The HC accordingly dismissed a petition filed by a Nashik-based college seeking to withhold the increments of one of its teachers.

A single-judge bench of Justice Chandrakant Bhadang upheld the orders of deputy director of education, Nashik, who had set aside the management’s decision to withhold the increments.

The college management had decided to stop the increments of Kailas Deshmukh, who taught geography in the school. The management claimed that he was not imparting ‘quality’ education. It also contended that the marks of students in his subject were not ‘satisfactory.’

This action was followed by the annual confidential report prepared by school Principal, who had not made any adverse remark against Deshmukh. The report was, however, not accepted by the school management, which claimed that the performance of students in geography was not satisfactory and decided to withhold his increments.

The decision was challenged before the deputy director of education, Nashik, who trashed the management’s contentions and ordered them to pay out the increments to Deshmukh.

Having considered the contentions, Justice Bhadang, said, “It is significant to note that the Principal, who is the reporting authority and who has a better opportunity to watch the performance of the concerned employee, has reported that Deshmukh’s performance was satisfactory.”

The bench noted that the percentage of the passing of students in geography was about 91 to 100%. “There is nothing on record as to what was the percentage of the students who had secured first class and for that matter second class. Therefore, the contention that because the number of students who had secured first class was less and therefore the adverse remark was recorded against Deshmukh, cannot be accepted,” Justice Bhadang held.

“In any event, I do not find that on any such ground the punishment in the nature of holding that the teacher is not entitled to annual increment could have been passed,” the court ruled.

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