M.M. Ismail, C.J.
1. This is an appeal against the order of Mohan, J., dated 30th August, 1976, dismissing W P No. 2638 of 1976 filed by the appellant herein. While the appellant was the Headmaster of a school he was arrested for certain offences, including one under Section 120-B, Indian Penal Code. Consequent on his arrest, he was suspended. On 12th September, 1967 he was convicted, by the Sessions Judge, and on 11th July, 1970, based on his conviction, he was dismissed. On 21st April, 1971, on appeal his conviction relating to the offence under Section 120B, Indian Penal Code, was confirmed. However, he was released under Section 4(1) of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958. Consequent on the judgment of the appellate Court the appellant was also reinstated.
2. Thereafter action was taken under Rule 154 of the Tamil Nadu Educational Rules. A show cause notice was issued by the Director of School Education (respondent herein) to the appellant, drawing his attention to the fact of conviction and asking him to show cause why his T.S.L.C. should not be cancelled. On 9th April, 1976, he submitted his reply. Not being satisfied with his reply, the impugned order of cancellation of the certificate came to be passed on 26th June, 1976. It was to quash that order the present writ petition was filed. The learned Judge having dismissed the writ petition, the present writ appeal has been filed.
3. The learned Counsel for the appellant contends and that was the argument before the learned Judge also that by virtue of Section 12 of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958(Central Act XX of 1958), the proceedings in question could not have been taken by the Director of School Education, in view of the appellant having been released under Section 4 of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958.
4. Section 12 of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, reads as follows:
Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, a person found guilty of an offence and dealt with under the provisions of Section 3 or Section 4 shall not suffer disqualification, if any, attaching to a conviction of an offence under such law:
Provided that nothing in this section shall apply to a case who, after his release under Section 4, is subsequently sentenced for the original offence.
5. The Supreme Court had occasion to consider the scope of this section in Divisional Personnel Officer, Southern Railway v. Chellappan : (1976)ILLJ68SC . In paragraph 11 of the judgment, the Supreme Court observed:
This brings us to the consideration of two inter-connected questions, namely, as to what is the effect of the order of the Magistrate releasing the accused on probation and the effect of Section 12 of the Probation of Offenders Act. It was suggested by the respondent that if the Magistrate does not choose, after convicting the accused, to pass any sentences on him, but releases him on probation, then the stigma of conviction is completely washed out and obliterated, and, therefore Rule 14(1) of the Rules of 1968 will not apply in terms. We are however unable to agree with this some-what broad proposition. A perusal of the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, clearly shows that the mere fact that the accused is released on probation does not obliterate the stigma of conviction.
After extracting the relevant portions of Sections 3 and 4, Section 9(3) and (4) of the Act, Supreme Court proceeded to observe:
These provisions would clearly show that an order of release on probation comes into existence only after the accused is found guilty and is convicted of the offence. Thus the conviction of the accused or the finding of the Court that be is guilty cannot be washed out at all, because that is the sine qua non for the order of release on probation of the offender. The order of release on probation is merely in substitution of the sentence to be imposed by the Court. This has been made permissible by the statute with a humanist point of view in order to reform youthful offenders and to prevent them from becoming hardened criminals. The provisions of Section 9(3) of the Act extracted above would clearly show that the control of the offender is retained by the criminal Court and where it is satisfied that the conditions of the bond have been broken by the offender, who has been released on probation, the Court can sentence the offender for the original offence. This clearly shows that the factum of guilt on the criminal charge is not swept away merely by the passing of the order releasing the offender on probation. Under Sections 3, 4 or 6 of the Act, the stigma continues and finding of the misconduct resulting in conviction must be treated to be a conclusive proof. In these circumstances, therefore, we are unable to accept the argument of the respondents that the order of the Magistrate releasing the offender on probation obliterates the stigma of conviction.
After extracting Section 12 of the Act, and the argument advanced with reference thereto, the Supreme Court observed:
It was suggested that Section 12 of the Act completely obliterates the effect of any conviction and wipes out the disqualification attached to a conviction of an offence under such law. This argument, in our opinion, is based on a gross misreading of the provisions of Section 12 of the Act. The words 'attaching to a conviction of an offence under such law' refer to two contingencies : (1) that there must be a disqualification resulting from a conviction; and (ii) that such qualification must be provided by some law other than the Probation of Offenders Act.
6. It is against the background of this law laid down by the Supreme Court we have to consider the effect of the argument of the learned Counsel for the appellant in the present case. In this case, as we already pointed out, action was taken under Rule 154 of the Tamil Nadu Educational Rules. Rule 154 provided for the cancellation or suspension of a teacher's certificate or any grade, if the character and conduct of the teacher is shown to be bad. This Rule further provides:
Such suspension or cancellation shall not be ordered except when the teacher or headmaster has been convicted in a Court, until the teacher or headmaster has been informed in writing of the charges against him, and full enquiry has been made either by the Chief Educational Officer or by the Director, or by any officer deputed by either of them for the purpose.
7. In our opinion, Section 12 of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, has no application to this Rule. This Rule does not provide for any disqualification automatically resulting from the conviction. On the other hand, this Rule contemplates action being taken independently once a conviction had taken place. All that can be said is that the Rule takes note of the conviction of a teacher or headmaster, and that conviction constitutes an occasion and the basis for taking action under Rule 154. Consequently, having regard to the manner in which Section 12 of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, has been interpreted by the Supreme Court, it is not possible to accept the contention of the learned Counsel for the appellant that Section 12 of the Probation of Offenders Act constitutes a bar to proceedings under Rule 154 of the Tamil Nadu Educational Rules.
8. Before the learned Judge another argument would appear to have been put forward, namely, that the charge levelled against the appellant in the show-cause notice was vague The learned Judge very rightly pointed out that such a case was not put forward at the earlier stage, but was put forward only in the writ petition, that even in the reply to the show-cause notice which the appellant gave, he did not put forward any case of vagueness of the charge and that the explanation showed that the appellant had clearly understood the charge. In view of this, the contention that the charge in the show-cause notice is vague was not repeated before us.
9. The result is that the appeal fails and is accordingly dismissed. There will be no order as to costs.