Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Supreme Court - Madras High Court order upholding the discharge of the Chief Educational Officer

The Supreme Court on Friday declined to interfere with a Madras High Court order upholding the discharge of the Chief Educational Officer at Thanjavur and the Director of Elementary School Education, Chennai, from the Kumbakonam fire tragedy case.

A Bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan dismissed a special leave petition filed by K. Inbaraj challenging the High Court order dated August 31.

According to Mr. Inbaraj, the CEO, M. Palanisamy, and the DEE, R. Kannan, were the main accused in the case relating to the Kumbakonam fire tragedy that occurred on July 16, 2004, in which 94 children had died and 18 sustained injuries.

He was aggrieved over the order passed by the government filing an application in the trial court for discharging the two accused from the case. The trial court accepted the government's plea and discharged them and on appeal, the High Court confirmed the discharge.

While passing the order, the High Court took into consideration the inquiry report of the Justice K. Sampath that they were not in any way responsible for the tragedy and that they had to be discharged in the absence of any other documentary evidence. The government accepted the Commission's report and moved the trial court for discharge and it was accepted and the High Court confirmed this order.

This Special Leave Petition is directed against the High Court order.

It said the SLP raised a substantial question of law in respect to the applicability of Section 321 of Cr.P.C. by which the Government of Tamil Nadu had withdrawn from prosecuting the main accused involved in one of the most infamous incidents in the country.

The SLP pointed out that these two were the persons responsible for the administration and upkeep of the schools in the area which included the maintenance of safety norms of these schools.

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