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Governing Body Of College Is The Proper Authority To Appoint Administrative Staffs of A College : Supreme Court

Nupur Thapliyal
6 Jan 2021 3:59 AM GMT
Governing Body Of College Is The Proper Authority To Appoint Administrative Staffs of A College : Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court has observed that it is the Governing Body of a College which has the authority to appoint the administrative staffs of a College."The Principal, however, who is entrusted the over all internal administration of the College is a person who knows all the staff of the College and his/her recommendation with regard to appointment of Warden of the College Hostel is to carry...

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The Supreme Court has observed that it is the Governing Body of a College which has the authority to appoint the administrative staffs of a College.

"The Principal, however, who is entrusted the over all internal administration of the College is a person who knows all the staff of the College and his/her recommendation with regard to appointment of Warden of the College Hostel is to carry weight. The Governing Body while making appointment of Warden of the College Hostel has to give due weight to the recommendation of Principal", the bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice M.R. Shah observed while setting aside a 2018 order of the division bench of the Delhi High Court.

BACKGROUND

One Ms. Asha was appointed as the warden of Daulat Ram College on 06.05.2016 and assumed the charge on 21.05.2016. The Governing Body in its meeting noted that the term of some other woman, who was appointed as warden prior to Ms. Asha's appointment, as the warden of the hostel was to expire on 11.09.2016 therefore, challenging Ms. Asha's post. In view of the same, a show cause notice was sent to Ms. Asha asking her to explain how she illegally and wilfully attempted to occupy the warden post when she was aware of the appointment of the other warden.

A letter was sent by the Principal in June 2016 informing that Ms. Asha has been appointed as the warden and may continue to hold the post for two years. However, in another letter, the University of Delhi wrote that the appointment of hostel warden is a purely administrative affair of the college and University had no role to play in it. Therefore, it asked the Principal to act as per Ordinance XVIII of the University.

Aggrieved by the same, Ms. Asha approached the Delhi High Court wherein a Single Judge vide judgment dated 09.03.2018 held that the appointment of the warden in college hostel was an administrative affair of the College and that the appointment of Ms. Asha was irregular. Aggrieved by this, Ms. Asha preferred an appeal to the division bench of the High Court wherein the Court vide judgment dated 06.03.2019 issued certain directions which mentioned that the Principal after inviting applications for appointment of warden would place the same before a Staff Council which will take a decision and make its recommendations in the matter. Aggrieved by the confusion in the procedural formalities of appointing hostel warden, an appeal was preferred to the Apex Court.

ISSUES OF THE CASE

  1. Whether it is the Principal of the College who is empowered to appoint Warden of the Hostel of the College or it is the Governing Body in whom the power to appoint Warden is vested?
  2. What is the procedure to be adopted before making appointment of Warden of the College Hostel?

OBSERVATIONS OF THE BENCH

The Bench while analyzing the counter affidavit filed by the University observed that the Act of the University, Statutes and Ordinance do not provide any provision for appointment of the hostel warden and that it is a private matter of the college.

The bench examined Ordinance XVIII which deals with "Of Colleges and Halls" wherein Rule 6A deals with staff council. "In the counter-affidavit of the University referring to practice, the University clearly states that appointment of Warden is purely an administrative affair of the College and the University has no role to play and further the same is not provided for under any of the provisions of the University of Delhi Act, Statutes and Ordinances. We, thus, come to the conclusion that Ordinance XVIII 6-A(5)(b)(iii) does not empower the Staff Council to make any recommendation with regard to the appointment of Warden of the College Hostel.", the judgment said.

On the point of the procedure to be followed before making appointment for the post of hostel warden, the bench held that the Governing Body of the College is to administer the affairs of the College. In doing so the bench relied on Chapter VV-2 of Ordinance XVIII which states that the Body will meet at least once in its term and shall have the supervision to control the affairs of the college.

"The Governing Body, thus, has general supervision of the College. Even in the Colleges and Institutions which are maintained by the University, it is provided in Ordinance XX that the Governing Body which is constituted by the Executive Council is empowered to appoint the administrative staff of the College. Similarly, the Governing Body of the affiliated Colleges is empowered to appoint administrative staff of the College. The Ordinance does not empower the Principal to make any appointment of the Warden of the Hostel nor any other statutory provision has been referred which empowers the Principal to appoint Warden of the College." The judgment reads.

PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED FOR APPOINTING HOSTEL WARDENS

  • The appointment of Warden of the Hostel is made from amongst the permanent staff of the College.
  • Applications are invited through notice by Principal for appointment of Warden,
  • After recommendation is made by the Principal, a decision is taken by the Governing Body to appoint Warden.
  • The Governing Body while making appointment of Warden of the College Hostel has to give due weight to the recommendation of Principal.

The Bench while setting aside the judgment of the division bench of the HC observed that the Governing Body should initiate the process of fresh appointment of warden by inviting applications through Principal of College before the Hostel is open for accommodating the students, as an when it reopens.

Case: CHAIRPERSON GOVERNING BODY DAULAT RAM COLLEGE vs. DR. ASHA [CIVIL APPEAL NO. 13 Of 2021]
Coram: Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah
Citation: LL 2021 SC 4

Click Here To Download Judgment

[Read Judgment]



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