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Poona College fails to act on court order to reinstate sacked peon

Man wins case in HC after losing job 15 years ago, but college dithers over taking him back

After terminating the services of its ex-principal Dr Anwar Shaikh last month claiming his work was unsatisfactory, the Poona College is once again embroiled in a controversy. Now, a former peon, Ayub Rahim Khan, has alleged even his services had been terminated illegally by the college about 15 years ago.


Raw deal: Ayub Rahim Khan, who says he was sacked by Poona 
College in 1996 after missing work because of a sickness, holds a copy 
of the high court order in his favour. Pic/Adnan Attarwala

The 39-year-old Khan said that despite a Bombay High Court order last year to the college management to reinstate him, he was still knocking on its doors. Khan, who had been working with the college since June 1990, had applied for a day's sick leave on August 7, 1996, but did not resume work for nearly two months as he claimed he was admitted to a hospital in Ambejogai. After getting no response to several letters and reminders asking him to resume his duty, the college took action under Rule 50 of the Maharashtra Non-Agricultural Universities and Affiliated Colleges Standard Code, 1984, and terminated his services in October 1996. 

1998 tribunal order
When Khan got to know about his termination, he filed a petition in the University and College Tribunal, Pune, which ordered in 1998 that he was to be reinstated in service as a peon. Since the college failed to act on the order, Khan with the help of several activists and lawyers, including Ramchandra Mendharkar and M Paranjpe, approached the high court, which upheld the order of the college tribunal and in a judgment last year stated that in case of termination of service, the employer needs to give an opportunity to the employee to explain the reason behind his absence and conduct investigation before taking any action. 

The order further said that since the medical certificate issued to Khan mentioned that he was suffering from hepatitis and was in hospital for two months, his termination was illegal. "The college said it had dispatched three reminders but I received them after a month as I was in the hospital. Even after the HC has ordered the college to reinstate me, the management has failed to respond. It is contempt of court," Khan said.

Khan, who was earning
Rs 1,100 per month as a peon, supported his family that included his mother, wife and three schoolgoing children by doing odd labour jobs. "Of late, I drive a rickshaw on rent and earn a meagre income of Rs 200 per day," he said.

College says
The management of the college, which is run by Anjuman Khairul Islam trust, said it was willing to employ Khan again but he had been asking for his last 15 year's salary, which amounts to about Rs 22 lakh. Dr GM Naziruddin, acting principal of Poona College, said, "We'll have to find out the reason why Ayub Khan has not been re-employed yet. But the question is: who'll pay him his 15 years' salary, the college or the government? Our college is government aided but he wants the money from the college."

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