A University of TT (UTT) professor who was dismissed from his position as assistant professor of animal sciences in March last year has been ordered to pay the university’s legal bill after he sought unsuccessfully in a judicial review claim to have the court declare it acted unfairly.
In a written decision, Justice Margaret Mohammed dismissed Dr Aphzal Mohammed’s claim because he failed to demonstrate that UTT was a public body exercising a public function and that the decision to fire him had any public interest.
“The nature of the employment relationship between the claimant and the defendant was contractual and so too was his dismissal and there was no evidence that the defendant’s dismissal was a matter of national concern,” the judge said, adding that he had an alternative remedy in private law.
In its defence, the UTT said Mohammed was dismissed because of his conduct arising out of a complaint by a student about inappropriate WhatsApp messages he sent to her. He was sent on administrative leave in January 2018, which was extended to February 22, and was given an opportunity to provide a written response to the allegations.
A disciplinary tribunal was held on February 27, and on March 14, he was dismissed.