CHENNAI:The Madras High Court came to the rescue of a professor in Stella Maris College who was denied permission to fly to the USA for treatment because of a pending departmental enquiry.
Petitioner Ordetta Hanna Mendoza, associate professor in Botany department, submitted that the college administration had refused to forward her letter seeking permission to the Director of Collegiate Education because of a notice issued to her for allegedly not awarding marks leniently to 17 students in the practical examination held in October 2014.
According to the petitioner, the notice was issued on January 24, and a departmental enquiry initiated with the principal of Patrician College of Arts and Science, Fatima Vasanth, heading it. The charge against the professor was that she was very strict in awarding marks. In her reply, the professor explained that it was for the examiner to decide how best to evaluate and submitted that the college administration was free to appoint anyone else if it was unhappy with her evaluation. Meanwhile, the professor wanted to travel to Boston during vacation to get treatment and submitted an application to the college which was rejected citing the pending enquiry.
Passing interim orders, Justice D Hariparanthaman stayed the notice and directed the college to forward petitioner’s application so that permission to travel abroad could be sanctioned immediately. Granting interim stay on the notice, the judge observed that regarding the evaluation, it was the sole discretion of the teacher and while one might be liberal another could be strict in awarding marks. As such, one cannot be punished for variation in awarding marks.
Further, the judge said since the college was on summer vacation, the enquiry too could be kept pending and continued after it re-opened, and directed the college management to immediately forward petitioner’s application.