An Urdu teacher who gave her students a hint about what to expect in the exam, has taken St Joseph’s College for Women to court for firing her.
Senior lecturer Farzana Hafeez’s appeal was heard by the Sindh High Court’s Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Shafi Siddiqui on Friday.
Hafeez said she had been teaching at the college since May 2005. She said that the administration and principal, Prof. Dr Bernadette Dean, had added some new course on which the students would be examined. According to Hafeez, as the course was not taught previously, she gave them some hints about the forthcoming exam. “This was her only fault for which the principal of the college was annoyed at her,” argued her lawyer advocate Chaudhry Muhammad Shafiq.
Shafiq added that on January 6, 2012, the principal summoned Hafeez to her office where she “insulted” Hafeez with harsh words and asked her to give in writing that she would not do the same thing again otherwise she would be fired. After that, Hafeez was verbally told by the principal that her services were no longer required. The lecturer maintains that the principal did not provide her any written letter or show-cause notice.
In her appeal, Hafeez has maintained that as she was given the job with the management’s approval and thus the principal’s decision to fire her went against all the canons of the law.
Earlier, through a legal notice, Hafeez’s lawyer Shafiq had asked the principal to take Hafeez back. He stated that if the principal had failed to allow Hafeez to continue working then he reserved the right to sue Dean in a court of law.
In reply to this notice, Dr Dean’s lawyer Barrister Naimur-Rahman termed the allegations as factually incorrect. Furthermore, Hafeez had set a bad example. He alleged that she had revealed to the students the questions that were set for her class for the college examination back in January 2012 and that had made the whole purpose of an exam redundant and harmful to the students.
He said that Hafeez had herself recognised her mistake and gave a letter of apology to the principal. According to him, Hafeez’s conduct, including the apology, has been seriously considered by the college’s board of governors who all agreed that retaining Hafeez’s services as a teacher would send a wrong message to the students.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2012.
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