Paul eligible for service extension: HC

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Chennai, Jul 18: The Madras High Court has ruled that a national best teacher award winning school teacher is eligible for being considered for extension of services after retirement.

Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar gave the ruling on a writ petition filed by a retired headmaster P Velusamy, who was denied extension of services after his retirement in May.

According to Velusamy, the Tamil Nadu government accepted a Central government suggestion and passed an order on May 4, 1976, stating that the retirement age of national award winning teachers from the state would be extended by five more years, if they are physically and mentally fit.

The Centre, by a memorandum in 1981, said the extension of service of the national awardee teachers may be limited upto 60 years.

However, it added that extension of tenure beyond 60 years would be the discretion of the state governments concerned.

Mr Velusamy was selected for the National Best Teacher Award in 2004-05 and he was due to retire on May 31, 2008 as headmaster of Holy Redeemers Higher Secondary School at Thisayanvilai in Tirunelveli district. He invoked the government order and the memorandum, and sought extension of tenure.

However, on May 30, the deputy director of school education rejected his application, on the ground that the government order was issued 30 years ago and that no one had been given such an extension of service all these years.

Justice Vasanthakumar, rejecting the government's contention, said the 1976 order was still in force. ''So long as the government order is in force, the authorities are bound to consider the request of the petitioner for extension of service.'' Noting that the school education department authorities were not right in rejecting the headmaster's plea, the judge said the petitioner was eligible for extension of service till 2010.

Setting aside the rejection order, Justice Vasanthakumar asked the petitioner to apply afresh along with a fitness certificate, enclosing the present of the High Court.

UNI

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