Not entertaining the challenge to the constitutionality of Sections 4, 5, 9 and 10 of the West Bengal Board of Madrasah Education Act, 1994 and the Management Rules framed thereunder, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Kolkata Madrasah Education Board and the District Inspector of Schools (S.E.), Birbhum to appoint an Administrator within a period of four weeks and the Administrator, so appointed, to conduct the elections of the Managing Committees within a period of eight weeks from the date of his appointment.
The bench headed by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde disposed off the SLP preferred against a February order of a division bench of the Calcutta High Court, seeing "no reason to interfere with the orders of the single judge of the High Court thereby, granting liberty to the Madrasah Board to appoint an Administrator and further directing the Board to facilitate the election of a new Managing Committee and hand over the affairs of the School to such elected body as per the prevalent rules".
The two-judge bench of the HC had noted that the appellants are the beneficiaries of the provisions of Sections 4, 5, 9 and 10 of the Act of 1994 and Management of Recognised Non-Government Madrasah (Aided and Unaided) Rules, 2002 and after their tenure was over as Members of the Managing Committee of Bheramari A.M. High Madrasah, they turned around and challenged the aforesaid provisions of the Act of 1994 and Rules of 2002 as ultra vires. The appellants having accepted validity of those provisions were inducted as members of the Managing Committee and having not found any reason to challenge the said provisions contemporaneously cannot be heard at this stage to take a completely different stand, the bench held.
The Single judge of the HC had also been of the view that since the Madrasah Board has the power to appoint an Administrator, they shall be at liberty to do so as expeditiously as possible. The existing Managing Committee only continue till such time the Board appoints an Administrator, and that As soon as possible after appointment of Administrator, the Madrasah Board shall facilitate the election of a new Managing Committee and hand over the affairs of the school to such elected body in terms of the prevalent rules in this regard.
In upholding the HC's judgment, the top court observed, "Undisputedly, the petitioners – Managing Committees came to be elected in the year 2015 and, that the term of the said Managing Committees came to an end in the year 2018. Under subrule (11) of Rule 5 of the Management of recognised NonGovernment Madrasahs (Aided and Unaided) Rules, 2002, if the Head of the Madrasah fails or neglects to convene the meeting for the purpose of approving the election programme for holding of an election for constitution or reconstitution of the Committee, the District Inspector of Schools is entitled to entrust all works pertaining to the election to the Assistant Headmaster/Assistant Superintendent and, if there is no Assistant Headmaster/Assistant Superintendent available, to the seniormost approved Assistant Teacher of the Madrasah. Under Rule 8 of the said Rules, the Madrasah Board is also entitled to appoint an Administrator..."
It may be noted that originally, pending the adjudication of a writ petition before the Supreme Court in The Managing Committee Contai Rahamania High Madrasah & Anr. v. The State of West Bengal & Ors., where a challenge has been thrown with regard to the constitutionality of Sections 4, 5, 9 and 10 of the 1994 Act and the Management Rules framed thereunder as in conflict with Article 30(1) of the Constitution, the existing Managing Committee, whose term has expired, was allowed to continue to function by the High Court in the interim. However, the Article 32 petition had come to be dismissed as withdrawn.
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