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Madras HC quashes termination order served on nurse

A nurse served with a termination order just 18 days prior to her retirement after putting in nearly a decade of service today got relief from the Madras High Court which quashed the order of the Deputy Director of Health Service of Vellore District.

“Having employed the petitioner for about 28 years, knowing very well that she did not pass SSLC, now the department cannot terminate her on the verge of retirement and such an order of termination is arbitrary and violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution. I have no hesitation to quash the impugned order of termination,” Justice D Hariparanthaman said.

M C Gomathi Nayagi submitted she was appointed as village Health Nurse in 1986. She completed schooling for 11 years but failed in SSLC, which recruitment rules said she should have.

Her old SSLC consisted of 11 years period. She was to retire on June 30 this year but was terminated from service just 18 days prior to it. Hence she preferred the petition.

Justice Hariparanthaman said the government invokes Rule 48 of Tamil Nadu State and Subordinate Service Rules and issues many orders relaxing qualifications if employees do not possess them. In this case, the nurse had put in 28 years of service.

The Deputy Director of Health Services, Vellore, should have sent the proposal to the Health Secretary, seeking relaxation of the petitioner’s qualification but had instead sought to pass the termination order.

He directed the DDHS to send proposals to the Health Secretary to relax the qualification on her appointment in 30 days and also directed the latter to invoke his power under Rule 48, taking into account the facts and circumstances of the case and pass orders in eight weeks.

The judge also directed the Health Secretary to settle the terminal benefits, including pension, within a period of eight weeks thereafter.

Source: PTI
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