The Supreme Court annulled the disciplinary action taken by the Secretary to the Ministry of Education against a teacher who issued a statement to the media.
Delivering the verdict on the case the two-member bench notes that the disciplinary action against the teacher in question had violated her fundamental rights.
The services of the teacher in question attached to the Mahanama College, Colombo were suspended on the 1st of February 1, 2012.
The suspension was made based on a statement the teacher had made to Action TV on November 27, 2012, over the failure of the Ministry of Education to conduct an investigation into an alleged harassment against her during school hours.
Three months later, the Supreme Court issued an injunction order against her suspension, opening the doorway for the Fundamental Rights Petition filed by the teacher to be heard.
Despite the Supreme Court’s order, the Ministry of Education continued its investigation against the petitioner and at its conclusion, revoked the teacher’s increment and imposed a fine of Rs.30,000 rupees.
The decision with regard to her Fundamental Rights Petition has been written by the chief justice.
While Supreme Court Judge Anil Gunaratne issued the verdict on the hearing on Wednesday, it says that as the constitution assures that the freedom of expression is valid to all citizens equally, the Establishment Code cannot be used as a restraint on the freedom of expression of state employees.
The verdict also determines that the disciplinary order issued by the Secretary to the Ministry of Education is in violation of 12/1 and 14(A) of the constitution.
The teacher accused of harassing the petitioner and the principal of Mahanama College, Colombo at the time were both ordered to pay a sum of 100,000 rupees each to the teacher victimized by the incident.
Action TV’s expose on the matter was highly commended in open court by Supreme Court Judges Anil Gunaratne and Priyantha Jayawardene.