1 Aug 2022 4:45 AM GMT
The Gujarat High Court has made it clear that where any private school is de-recognized, the District Educational Officer is required to take steps for declaring the eligible school staff as 'surplus' and absorb them in other schools.The clarification comes in light of a State policy that whenever the employees of private secondary school are required to be retrenched either due to the...
The Gujarat High Court has made it clear that where any private school is de-recognized, the District Educational Officer is required to take steps for declaring the eligible school staff as 'surplus' and absorb them in other schools.
The clarification comes in light of a State policy that whenever the employees of private secondary school are required to be retrenched either due to the closure of classes or due to the closure of school, if they fulfill the criteria prescribed in the G.R.s then they are not required to face actual termination, but by declaring them surplus Government of Gujarat extends protection to their services and they are absorbed in any other aided registered private secondary school.
Ordinarily, under Section10-A of the Gujarat Secondary Education Regulations, 1974 the school management is required to send a proposal in writing to the D.E.O. and on that proposal the D.E.O. passes the order declaring the affected employees surplus. This is, however, in a situation arising due to reduction of class or classes.
In the present case, the teachers were being retrenched due to de-recognition of the school for falsely claiming to be recognized as a minority institution and enjoying benefits of Grant-in-Aid. An order for recovery of Rs. 22 crore was also passed.
The State govt had approached the High Court assailing an order of the Gujarat Secondary Education Board Tribunal which had directed the State authorities to remit salaries for the services of the teachers between the period of de-recognition and till their absorption.
The State argued that the proposal was required to be moved by the school management and that the D.E.O, therefore, did not consider the proposal, which was forwarded by the school teachers themselves.
The Bench comprising Justice AY Kogje observed that the Tribunal had rightly considered the teachers' claims. It observed,
"it is the settled practice of the Department that in such cases where the registration of the school is canceled by the board the process of declaring the employees surplus is undertaken by the D.E.O. on his own and no proposal by the management is necessary. In this view of the matter, the submission of the D.E.O. that there was no proposal from the management for declaring the employees surplus and therefore, they were not declared surplus is not tenable. The submission of the D.E.O. about pendency of the appeal by the management before the department and in the High Court, in my view, cannot be considered as a cogent ground for not taking steps to declare the employees surplus."
It noted that from October 2004, the salaries of the employees were withheld and they have made several representations for releasing their salaries, but despite such requests the D.E.O. has not taken any steps to release their salaries or to declare them surplus.
The Court opined that if the D.E.O. had passed timely order declaring them surplus then they would have been absorbed elsewhere immediately and the question of nonpayment of salaries for such a long time would not have arisen. If the D.E.O. had on his own as per the government guidelines and policy passed the order within reasonable time after 08.12.04, then this hardship to the teachers and non-teaching staff could have been averted, it added.
In light of the above, the petition was dismissed.
Case No.: C/SCA/6808/2008
Case Title: STATE OF GUJARAT & 2 other(s) v/s RAVINDRA S. SHUKLA & 22 other(s)
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 303
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