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Tamil Nadu - Madurai Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

“Laches no bar to file case, if employee was kept in dark”

Mohamed Imranullah S.

MADURAI: The Tamil Nadu State and Subordinate Service Rules which states that government servants can challenge the seniority list within three years of its publication will apply only to the employees who had been furnished with the list and not to those who were not provided with the list, the Madras High Court has ruled.

Justice D. Hariparanthaman passed the ruling while allowing a writ petition filed in 2007 by an elementary school headmistress Alameluammal to quash a seniority list prepared in respect of secondary grade teachers in Chellampatti Panchayat Union near here in 1998. The petitioner's counsel N. Dilip Kumar claimed that she came to know of the anomaly in the seniority list only in 2007.

Accepting her submission, the judge pointed out that the Director of Elementary Education himself had conceded in one of the letters written by him in November 2001 that the District Elementary Education Officers (DEEO) and Assistant Elementary Education Officers (AEEOs) across the State were not following the procedures required to be followed in preparing and furnishing the seniority list to teachers.

It was found out that the AEEOs were preparing the list which ought to be prepared by DEEOs. The lists prepared by the former were not even sent to the latter for approval.

Further, the seniority lists were not circulated among the teachers so as to enable them to raise objections if any. Hence, the Director had instructed all the district level officers to follow the procedures scrupulously.

Though the instructions were issued as early as in 2001, they seem to have been followed in Chellampatti panchayat union only from 2004, the judge said and held that the petitioner could not be blamed for taking ten years to question the 1998 seniority list. He directed the authorities to clear all the anomalies in the case of the petitioner and promote her as middle school headmistress with effect from July 21, 2007.

According to the petitioner, she was initially appointed as a secondary grade teacher in Sedapatti panchayat union near here in July 1988. After completing her probation in July 1990, she got declared as a regular employee from the date of her appointment. Thereafter, she was transferred to Chellampatti Union on request in June 1992 and was placed as a junior to another teacher who was still on probation. The petitioner did not know the fact that the other teacher was on probation and hence she did not question the seniority list. Due to the anomaly, the petitioner got promoted as elementary school headmistress only in June 1999 whereas the other teacher was promoted in September 1998 itself. The irregularity came to light when the teacher was promoted as middle school teacher in July 2007.

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