Writ Petition Not Maintainable Against Termination Of Teacher By Private School Management: SC Upholds Patna HC Judgment [Read Order]
The Supreme Court has upheld a Patna High Court judgment that held that the Management Committee of Private School is not "State" within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India and a writ petition is not maintainable.
Trigun Chand Thakur, a Sanskrit teacher, who was working in a private school was terminated by the management for his absence on the eve of Independence Day and Teachers' Day. His challenge against this termination was dismissed by the Patna High Court. The single bench held that in matters relating to the termination of the teachers by the Managing Committee of the private school, the writ petition is not maintainable.
The Division Bench of the High Court, while upholding the single bench judgment, referred to its earlier judgment in Chandra Nath Thakur v. The Bihar Sanskrit Shiksha Board & Ors., 1999 (1) PLJR 529 and held that a teacher of a privately managed school, even though financially aided by the State Government or the Board, cannot maintain a writ petition against an order of termination from service passed by the Management Committee.
We do not find any ground to take a different view, said the bench comprising of Justice R. Banumathi and Justice AS Bopanna while dismissing the appeal filed against the High Court judgment.
Thakur had earlier filed a writ petition which was disposed of with the consent of both the parties observing that the teacher can agitate his rights before the Chairman of the Bihar Sanskrit Shiksha Board and the Chairman of the Board shall consider the representation of the appellant and dispose of the same in accordance with law. The Chairman, Bihar Sanskrit Shiksha Board, had found that his punishment of termination from service was disproportionate and directed reinstatement. The Special Director (Secondary Education), in the appeal filed by the management, remanded the matter back to the Chairman, Bihar Sanskrit Shiksha Board, with a direction to reconsider the matter in the light of the grounds taken in the appeal.
Though this was pointed out before it, the division bench observed that consent order passed by the High Court in C.W.J.C. NO.10698 of 1994 cannot confer jurisdiction on this Court and does not make the Managing Committee "State" within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India.
Earlier this year, another bench of Supreme Court comprising of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Navin Sinha, had dismissed an appeal by Marwari Balika Vidyalaya, a private school, against a Calcutta High Court judgment, which had directed the reinstatement of a dismissed teacher named Asha Srivastava with back wages by invoking writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
While dismissing the appeal, the bench referred to the judgment in Raj Kumar vs Director of Education and others, which had held that approval of the government education authorities was necessary even for dismissal of a private school employee.