In a reprieve to former Sidhharth College vice-principal Chitra Salunkhe, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the college management to reinstate her. The court also directed that Salunkhe should be paid back wages from the time that she was dismissed, within two months.
Salunkhe had been dismissed by the college on May 21, 2009 due to allegations that she had obtained a fake BA degree from the Kakatia University in Warangal, Andhra Pradesh. She claims to have obtained the degree in 1988-89. The college alleged that she used it to secure admission in a law course in the Mumbai University, on the basis of which she was appointed as a lecturer.
A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice P D Kode on Tuesday allowed the petition filed by Salunkhe, paving the way for her reinstatement. While the judges clarified that they have not made any comments on the merits of the dispute at this stage, they observed that no proper opportunity was given to Salunkhe to put forward her case before the inquiry officer. The order states, “The sequence of events itself clearly discloses that there was a clear breach of principles of natural justice.”
The judges noted that the issue was raised only after she passed her NET/SLET examination, and that her BA degree certificate had been verified when she had applied for admission for her LLM course at the Sidhharth College. The order observes that the college management had allowed members of its staff to “take vengeance against the petitioner (Salunkhe).”
Salunkhe claimes that the allegations against her had been made as she had objected to an alleged examination malpractice case involving IPS officer K L Bishnoi, who is currently serving as Additional Director General of Police (Planning and Co-Ordination).