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Prior Approval Of Education Director Not Necessary For Disciplinary Action Against Employee Of Unaided Recognized Educational Institution: Rajasthan HC

ANIRUDH VIJAY
14 May 2022 2:30 PM GMT
Rajasthan High Court, Prefix, title, cause title, Jaipur Bench, Raja, Nawab, Maharaja, Rajkumar, privy purse, abolished, 26th Amendment in the Constitution of India, Article 363-A, Article 14, Equality before law, Justice Sameer Jain, centre, Rajasthan government, Constitutional,
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The Rajasthan High Court has reiterated that prior approval of the Director of Education is not necessary before taking disciplinary action against an employee of Unaided Recognized Educational Institutions.

In this regard, reliance was placed on the High Court's judgment in Central Academy Society Vs. Rajasthan Non-Govt. Educational Institutional Tribunal [2010(3) WLC 21] as well as the decision of Apex Court in T.M.A. Pai Foundation Vs. State of Karnataka [2002 (8) SCC 481].

A division bench of Justice Pankaj Bhandari and Justice Anoop Kumar Dhand, while allowing the appeal, observed,

"Hence, in view of the judgment of the Hon'ble Apex Court, we see no reason to take a different view as the controversy involved in this appeal has already been put to rest by the Constitutional Bench of 11 Judges of the Hon'ble Court in the case of T.M.A. Pai Foundation (supra) and the three Judges Larger Bench of this Court in the case of Central Academy Society (supra), that prior approval of the Director of Education is not necessary before taking disciplinary action against the employee of the Unaided Recognized Educational Institution."

Notably, in T.M.A. Pai Foundation (supra), the Supreme Court had clarified that in any recognized private educational institution which is not receiving any aid from the State, there has to be least interference by the State in the managerial functions of such institution.

The court noted that the proviso (iii) of Section 18 of Rajasthan Non-Government Educational Institutions Act is applicable only when the enquiry under section 18 is not conducted. But here in this case the enquiry was held as per the provisions of the Act and on the basis of the Enquiry Report, the Managing Committee of the appellant Institution passed the order of termination, added the court. The court opined that this was not the case of the respondent neither before the Tribunal nor before the Single Bench that there was any violation of proviso. Therefore, the court observed that the finding recorded by the Single Judge regarding violation of proviso (iii) of section 18 is liable to be quashed and set aside.

It was observed that the instant case is not a case where the Managing Committee was of the unanimous opinion that the services of the respondent employee could not be continued without prejudice to the interest of the appellant-Institution, so there was no occasion to give six months notice or salary in lieu of the termination. Instant case is a case of gross misconduct of the respondent for which a detail domestic enquiry was conducted by the Committee after giving reasonable opportunity of hearing to the respondent and when all the charges were proved, the decision was taken for termination of the services of the respondent, added the court.

The court said that the Tribunal allowed the appeal of the respondent solely on the premises that the appellant Institution has not obtained prior approval of the Director of Education and the termination order was held to be illegal and consequently, the termination order was set-aside and the respondent was directed to be reinstated in service with all consequential benefits. The court noted that it appears that the respondent was satisfied with all the findings recorded by the Tribunal, that is why he did not challenge the adverse findings recorded against him. Hence, those findings have attained finality against the respondent, added the court.

Further, the court stated that it would be open for the respondent to accept the compensation amount of Rs.2 lacs offered by the appellant, if it is agreeable to him.

Additionally, while observing that the termination order has been upheld, the court dismissed the other appeal as it being devoid of any force. The said appeal was submitted by the employee/ appellant against the punishment order dated 06.01.2011 passed by the learned Single Bench by which the claim of the employee for equal pay for equal work has been denied.

FACTS

The respondent was serving as L.D.C. with the appellant institution, whereby his services were terminated as a result of proved misconduct in a departmental enquiry conducted by the appellant. The said termination order was challenged by the respondent before the tribunal inter-alia on the ground that sufficient opportunity of defence was not provided to him during domestic enquiry against him.

The copies of the record were not provided to him. But their objections were turned down by the tribunal by observing in the impugned judgment dated 06.08.1998 that sufficient opportunity was granted to the respondent for producing his defence and all requisite documents and enquiry report were provided to him. After getting all the aforesaid, the respondent submitted a representation to the Authority and after considering the same, the order of termination of his services was passed.

The Tribunal quashed the termination order of the respondent only on a technical ground that no approval of the Director of Education was taken under section 18 of the Act of 1989 and under Rule 39(2) of the Rules of 1993 before passing the termination order and the appeal filed by the respondent was allowed by the tribunal vide judgment dated 16.08.2003 by directing the appellant to reinstate the respondent back in service with all consequential benefits. Thereafter, the said judgment was dismissed by the single judge. Aggrieved, the present appeal was preferred.

Counsels For Appellant(s) : Mr. Prahlad Singh in SAW No.1077/2005 (Respondent in SAW No.826/2011)

Counsels For Respondent(s) : Mr. Ankit Sethi in SAW No.1077/2005 (For appellant in SAW No.826/2011) Mr. Ganesh Meena, AAG

Case Title: Adarsh Shiksha Parishad Samiti & Anr v. Gajanand Sharma & Ors. with other connected matter

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Raj) 161
Click here to read Order/ Judgment

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