2 Sep 2023 7:30 AM GMT
In a significant verdict, the Patna High Court has ruled that affiliated and minority educational institutions in the state of Bihar will now only need to consult their respective university administration rather than seeking "approval" in matters related to the appointment, promotion, dismissal, discharge, removal from service and termination of service or demotion of teachers .The...
In a significant verdict, the Patna High Court has ruled that affiliated and minority educational institutions in the state of Bihar will now only need to consult their respective university administration rather than seeking "approval" in matters related to the appointment, promotion, dismissal, discharge, removal from service and termination of service or demotion of teachers .
The court's decision comes in response to two writ applications challenging section 4(5) of the Bihar State Universities (Amendment) Act, 2013, which substituted section 57A of the Bihar State Universities Act, 1976. The petitioners argued that the amended section infringed upon the rights of minority educational institutions guaranteed under Article 30(1) of the Indian Constitution.
Abhinav Srivastava, representing the petitioners, contended that the introduction of the substituted section 57A in 2013 required the governing bodies of minority colleges to obtain approval from the Selection Committee constituted by the University. This, he argued, constituted interference with the administration and management rights of minority educational institutions, thus violating Article 30(1).
However, rather than declaring the impugned stipulations of section 57-A unconstitutional, the High Court opted to modify the use of the word "approval" to "consultation." The court held that the word "approval" should be interpreted as "effective consultation" with the universities for the required purposes.
The division bench of Chief Justice K. Vinod Chandran and Justice Partha Sarthy observed, “In the opinion of the Court, by use of the word ‘approval’ in sec 57A(5) the intention could not have been to violate the constitutional provision as contained in Art 30, but it would be an effective consultation as contemplated under sec 57A(4). Thus in the opinion of this Court the word ‘approval’ will have to be read down accordingly.”
“As seen above, by the reconstitution of the Selection Committee consisting of as many as six nominated persons and further by making the decision of the governing body of the minority colleges subject to the approval of the said Selection Committee, in the opinion of the Court, the same infringes with the rights of the minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice as provided under Art 30 of the Constitution. Thus the words ‘with the approval of the Selection Committee’, as occurring in sub-sec (5) is read down as ‘in consultation with the Selection Committee’,” the bench added while placing reliance on Delhi Transport Corporation vs. D.T.C. Mazdoor Congress and others (AIR 1991 SC 101).
The court noted that Section 57 of the Bihar State Universities Act, 1976 provides for appointment to the post of Teachers in Universities and their constituent colleges.
The court further noted that Section 57A provides for the procedure of selection to be prescribed by the Statute for appointment of Teachers in such affiliated colleges which are not governed by the State Government or not funded by the Universities, and the selection is to be processed by the Selection Committee constituted by the University under section 57B of the Act.
The court pointed out that Section 57A was amended by the Bihar State Universities (Amendment) Act, 2007, introducing changes to the appointment process. Section 57A(1) discussed the appointment of teachers in non-state-funded affiliated colleges through a Selection Committee, and Section 57A(2) outlined the committee's composition and recommendation process.
Additionally, the court noted the introduction of Section 57B through the same 2007 Amendment Act. This section mandated that the Selection Committee adhere to the selection procedure outlined in the university's statute.
The court also mentioned amendments made in 2013 to Sections 57A and 57B. Section 57B specified that the Selection Committee would consist of the college governing body's chairman, the college principal, and the head of the faculty department. It also included nominees from the governing body and the vice-chancellor.
The Court said, “It may be stated here itself that after amendment though the constitution of the Selection Committee is predominantly of persons from the college, however, the respondents have introduced a number of persons through nominations.”
Placing reliance on The Governing Body of Karim City College andOthers vs. The State of Bihar and Others [1984 PLJR 86(DB)], the court said that despite the Selection Committee's predominantly college-centric composition, the inclusion of six nominated members and the requirement for the approval of the Selection Committee in the decision-making process of minority colleges infringed upon the rights of minorities under Article 30 of the Constitution, which grants them the right to establish and administer educational institutions.
The court further said, “It may also be noted here that while section 57A(4) which deals with the teachers in affiliated colleges talks about ‘consultation’ with the Selection Committee, section 57A(5) which deals with the teachers in the minority colleges talks about actions being taken in their case by the governing body with the ‘approval’ of the Selection Committee.”
“In view of the facts and circumstances stated herein above, section 57A(5) of the Act having been read down as stated above, the same is held to be in consonance withArticle 30 of the Constitution and is constitutionally valid,” the Court concluded while disposing of the applications/
Case Title: Noor Alam Khan vs. The State of Bihar and Others
Case Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Pat) 101
Case No: Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No.14793 of 2017
Counsel For the Petitioner/s: Mr. Abhinav Srivastava, Advocate
Counsel For the Respondent/s : Mr. PK Shahi (AG)
Click Here To Read/Download Judgement