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Minister Can't Interfere In Zilla Parishad Administration and Order Teacher's Transfer Merely Because Complaint Was Also Made To Him: Bombay High Court

Sharmeen Hakim
14 April 2022 11:00 AM GMT
Minister Cant Interfere In Zilla Parishad Administration and Order Teachers Transfer Merely Because Complaint Was Also Made To Him: Bombay High Court
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A Rural Development Minister doesn't have the power to interfere with the affairs of the Zilla Parishad by cancelling the transfers orders of teachers merely because a teacher complained to him, the Bombay High Court has said. The court observed that the Minister's order directing the Zilla Parishad CEO to cancel the transfer of certain teachers was without jurisdiction, therefore...

A Rural Development Minister doesn't have the power to interfere with the affairs of the Zilla Parishad by cancelling the transfers orders of teachers merely because a teacher complained to him, the Bombay High Court has said.

The court observed that the Minister's order directing the Zilla Parishad CEO to cancel the transfer of certain teachers was without jurisdiction, therefore the CEO's subsequent order complying with the Minister's direction would be bad-in-law.

"The order impugned herein (CEO's order) is without jurisdiction because it has been passed in compliance with the directions issued by an authority, the Hon'ble Minister on 15th January 2021, who had no power of transfer under any statute or government decision," the court observed.

The court also imposed a cost of Rs. 25,000 on the teacher who had approached the Minister with a complaint against his transfer. It was after his complaint that the transfer of several teachers was stopped.

FACTS

The court was seized with a petition filed by Sushama Arun Patil, an assistant teacher who was transferred from a Zilla Parishad School at Gadhinglaj to a high school in Kolhapur on 12th July 2019 by the Chief Executive Officer. Two months after taking charge, on September 29, 2021, the CEO ordered Patil to be sent back to Gandhinglaj.

Patil said she later learnt that another teacher -Riyaz Jahiruddin Mulla- who was transferred from Kolhapur to Gandhinglaj, had approached the Rural Development Minister who directed the CEO revoke his first order reshuffling the teachers.

Therefore, the only question before the court was -

Whether or not the Hon'ble Minister could have interfered in the administration of affairs of Zilla Parishad by cancelling the transfer order of Riyaz Mulla just because he had approached him by making a complaint.

"In our view the answer has to be given in the negative," the bench said.

Observations

The bench observed that Mulla's counsel failed to show under which provision of law could the minister have interfered in the Zilla Parishad's administration and directed cancellation of transfer order issued by the Chief Executive Officer.

The court said that the Minister's order was not binding on the CEO. However, by complying with the order the CEO had also acted without jurisdiction. It may be noted that Mulla had approached the High Court seeking compliance of the Minister's order after which the CEO quickly followed the minister's directions.

"It is obvious that the direction issued by the Hon'ble Minister here was without jurisdiction and so was not binding upon the Chief Executive Officer of Zilla Parishad. But, in the present case the order that was passed without jurisdiction by the Hon'ble Minister has been complied with by the Chief Executive Officer by cancelling transfer of Respondent No.6 to Gadhinglaj school and re-posting him at Kolhapur. This way, Respondent No.3 too has acted without jurisdiction in the present case."

Significantly, the court said that neither the CEO nor the minister had given a chance to the petitioner – Patil – to say anything before transferring her back to the Zilla Parishad School.

"Such order of re-transfer brought adverse civil consequences for the Petitioner and, therefore, principles of natural justice required these authorities to hear the Petitioner before the impugned orders were passed, which they did not ."

Conduct of Teacher Who Complained to Minister

The bench held that Mulla, who didn't want to be transferred to the Zilla Parishad school had behaved in a manner unbecoming of a government employee. He had failed to inform the Minister that he had approached the HC against his initial transfer and subsequently hid the Minister's order from the court, when he filed the first petition.

"Thus, we are of the view that this is a case wherein Respondent No.6 (Mulla) has done everything that was possible for him to manipulate and abuse the process of law and, therefore, it is necessary that suitable costs are imposed upon Respondent No.6, while allowing this petition."

The court then restored the initial order transferring Mulla to the Zilla Parishad and Patil to the High School in Kolhapur.

Rs. 25, 000 cost imposed on Mulla would now be used to purchase books for the Prison library at Kalamba, Kolhapur.

The order impugned herein is without jurisdiction because it has been passed in compliance with the directions issued by an authority, the Hon'ble Minister on 15th January 2021, who had no power of transfer under any statute or government decision.

It is obvious that the direction issued by the Hon'ble Minister here was without jurisdiction and so was not binding upon the Chief Executive Officer of Zilla Parishad.

Case Title :Smt. Sushama Arun Patil v The State of Maharashtra and ors

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Bom) 140

Click Here To Read/Download Order Judgment

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