The Calcutta High Court recently came down heavily on Convent of Our Lady Providence Girls' High School in Kolkata for unlawfully terminating the service of an Assistant Teacher in violation of the order of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE).
Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay was adjudicating upon a plea moved by the petitioner seeking the setting aside of an order terminating her service and quashing of disciplinary proceedings initiated against her.
The WBBSE had further issued an order dated April 29, 2019, directing the concerned school to allow the petitioner to continue in her post as the Assistant Teacher in English without any hindrance which was subsequently flouted. It had been further indicated by the WBBSE that disciplinary proceedings initiated against the petitioner is in gross violation of the Board's notification dated March 8, 2018.
'From the action of the school it is found that the school does not care the direction of the court for exchange of affidavits and a final hearing or the decision of the Board, which is a statutory authority, in respect of suspension of the petitioner and in respect of the observation of the Board as to gross violation of notification dated 8th March, 2018, i.e., the existing Rules. The school does not care this court's order dated 01.04.2022, does not care the order of the Board dated 20.02.2017 and does not care the Board's letter dated 29.04.2019", the Court observed.
Opining further that the school had 'overreached the Court' by issuing a termination order despite the matter being sub-judice, the Court underscored,
"When the matter was kept pending with direction of this court for filing affidavits, the order passed by the school for termination of the petitioner during the pendency of the matter, i.e., in a sub-judice matter, in my view, is clearly an act of overreaching the court. The school never approached the court before passing such termination order, which judicial decorum and discipline demands. Ignoring the court is unforgivable. The school is of this habit, as will appear from the facts stated above, of ignoring the statutory authority, i.e., the Board."
The Court further opined that by issuing the letter of termination to the petitioner dated April 2, 2022, the school has tried to make a final onslaught upon the petitioner for making the writ application infructuous and this conduct was further termed as 'an exceptional over-smart action on the part of the school' by the Court.
Accordingly, the Court set aside the termination order of the petitioner and further observed that no further opportunity should be given to the school to file an affidavit before the Court as it has violated the Court's orders.
Directing the WBBSE to withdraw the schools' affiliation, the Court observed,
"Further as the school does not care for the Board's authority for the reasons best known to it, though it is affiliated by the Board, I direct the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education to forthwith withdraw the affiliation of the school and the school shall not be allowed to send any student to the examinations conducted by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education."
If the present students of the school approach the Board for safeguarding their interest, the Board is granted liberty to take steps as it will think appropriate for safeguarding the interest of the students including scattering them to other schools affiliated by the Board, the Court clarified.
Case Title: Anita Nigam v. The State of West Bengal & Ors
Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Cal) 173