THE Public Service Commission (PSC), despite two court rulings, is insisting that a prison officer who they claim took too much maternity leave, has in effect fired herself.
Justice Frank Seepersad recounted in a hearing last week how the PSC stood its ground despite court ruling upon court ruling. He extended the time for Favianna Gajadhar to file yet another judicial review application.
In dealing with the issue of her delay in filing, in the San Fernando High Court, the judge said that Gajadhar’s dismissal was in contention before him, judges of the Court of Appeal and Justice David Harris. Gajadhar gave birth on June 18, 2006 and went on maternity leave after.
On December 10, 2008, the PSC decided she had resigned her post. In June 2010, she filed for judicial review. A judge held that the PSC wrongly exercised its power and it appealed the ruling. The judges found the PSC violated the principle of natural justice. They remitted the matter to the PSC for reconsideration.
On October 24, 2016, the PSC again held that Gajadhar failed to provide documentation to account for her absences from work and its decision would stand. Anand Ramlogan, SC, initiated further proceedings against the PSC for failing to comply with the Court of Appeal’s ruling.
Harris ordered the PSC to rehear the matter, Seepersad said, with the distinct understanding that Gajadhar should be invited to make representation.
Seepersad said that the issue before him was Gajadhar’s judicial review lawsuit challenging the PSC’s decision to uphold its previous decision, but it was filed outside the three-month period. Leave is only granted to seek judicial review of a decision of a public authority if the matter is filed within three months of the making of the decision.
However, there are exceptional cases. Seepersad held that having considered all the circumstances of the case, most importantly the fact that the PSC did not furnish Gajadhar with the grounds for its decision against her, leave should be granted to extend the time for filing.
Source: Newsday https://newsday.co.tt/2019/01/22/prison-officer-fired-herself/