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Monday, January 24, 2022

Dismissed for degrees via distance learning: Gujarat HC orders Surat school to reinstate teachers

Rukhsanabanu Pathan and Kazi Mohmad Iqbal Shafiyuddin had moved the petitions separately before the HC in 2020 following their dismissals by Sygma School in December 2019, nearly four years after they began teaching at the school.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
December 24, 2021 3:25:22 am
Taking note of the state’s submission, the court of Justice Nikhil Kariel Thursday directed the respondents to "reinstate the petitioners". (File)

The Gujarat High Court Thursday directed a Surat school to reinstate two teachers who were dismissed in 2019 after the management refused to recognise their graduation degree. The court also directed the school to issue appropriate orders for granting consequential benefits to the two teachers within eight weeks.
“…all financial benefits as would be available to the petitioners shall be paid by the concerned authorities… within a period of eight weeks from the date of the receipt of the order,” the court order stated.

Rukhsanabanu Pathan and Kazi Mohmad Iqbal Shafiyuddin had moved the petitions separately before the HC in 2020 following their dismissals by Sygma School in December 2019, nearly four years after they began teaching at the school. The action was allegedly on the grounds that they had pursued their graduation degree via distance learning at Maulana Azad National Urdu University, outside the territorial limits of Gujarat.

The dismissal order by the school had also sought that they would be liable to pay back the salary received by them from the school since 2014, i.e., from the time they joined as teaching staff. Appointed contractually for a period of 5 years as ‘sahayaks’, with the contract valid until December 2019, the petitioners argued that such dismissal was a bid to deprive them of their legal rights to permanent positions.

In response, the state had submitted that the course/degree undertaken was by distance mode and therefore, did not hold the same value as a degree obtained after attending regular classes at the university.

However, in an affidavit filed by the University Grants Commission (UGC), the commission submitted that the territorial jurisdiction of the university extended to the “whole of India”, and that degrees obtained through long-distance mode are recognised for the purpose of employment in the Central government, in addition to pursuing higher education in other educational institutions. It was also submitted that students of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University is recognised by

UGC for open distance-learning mode and such students are to be “treated at par” with other Central universities.
Following this, earlier this month, the state government submitted before the HC the copies of the two orders by the District Education Officer of Surat withdrawing the dismissal orders against the petitioners. The order also directed the school to take back the petitioners in service with all consequential benefits.

Taking note of the state’s submission, the court of Justice Nikhil Kariel Thursday directed the respondents to “reinstate the petitioners”.

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