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Tika Ram Vs. Mundikota Shikshan Prasarak Mandal & Ors [1984] INSC 135 (10 August 1984)

VENKATARAMIAH, E.S. (J) VENKATARAMIAH, E.S. (J) ERADI, V. BALAKRISHNA (J)

CITATION: 1984 AIR 1621 1985 SCR (1) 339 1984 SCC (4) 219 1984 SCALE (2)182

CITATOR INFO :

F 1990 SC 423 (7,8,9)

ACT:

Constitution of India-Article 226-Writ Petition against a private body on the basis of non-statutory rules-Whether maintainable.

School Code (Maharashtra State)-Nature of-Non- statutory-Nature of proceedings under School Code-Quasi- judicial-Director and Deputy Director of Education have no power to review their decisions.

HEADNOTE:

The appellant was working as Headmaster of a school run by Respondent No. 1, which was a private body. After an enquiry, the management of the school reverted the appellant to the post of Assistant Teacher. Feeling aggrieved, the appellant appealed to the Deputy Director of Education. The Deputy Director, having found that the enquiry had been vitiated on account of violation of principles of natural justice, set aside the order of the management reverting the appellant and remanded the case to the management for a fresh decision. The Deputy Director dismissed the management's application for re-considering his decision on the ground that no such review petition could be filed before him. The management appealed against this order of the Deputy Director. The Director of Education dismissed the appeal. The management filed a petition before the Director to reconsider the case. This time the Director allowed the petition and set aside the order of the Deputy Director remanding the case. The appellant filed a writ petition before the High Court on the ground that the Director had no jurisdiction to review his earlier order. The High Court dismissed the writ petition holding that the teachers working in private schools could not enforce their right under Clause 77 and other connected clauses of the School Code which were not statutory rules. Hence this appeal by special leave.

Allowing the appeal, 340

HELD: The order of the Director passed on the review petition is set aside and that of the Deputy Director is restored. [342H] The Court is aware of some of the decisions in which it is observed that no teacher could enforce a right under the School Code which is non-statutory in character against the management. But in the instant case, since the appellant was not seeking any relief directly against the management, a private body, but against the order passed in a quasi- judicial proceeding by the Director, an officer of Government who is always amenable to the jurisdiction of the Court, though in a case arising under the School Code and since the Director had assumed a jurisdiction to review his own orders not conferred on him, the appellant was entitled to maintain the petition under Article 226 of the Constitution. [342E-F] On merits it is not disputed that neither the Deputy Director nor the Director of Education had the power to review the order passed by him earlier. The Director had affirmed the order of the Deputy Director by his earlier order. The order passed by the Deputy Director remanding the case to the management for holding a fresh enquiry thus became final. The Director had no power to review his earlier order. [342G-H]

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal No. 3189 of 1984.

Appeal by Special leave from the Judgment and Order dated the 15th Day of December, 1982 of the Bombay High Court in Special Civil Appln. 637 of 1977 Dr. N. M. Ghatate for the Appellant.

D. M. Nargolkar for the Respondent.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by VENKATARAMIAH J. Special Leave granted.

In the year 1975 the appellant was working as the Head Master of a High School which was being run by the Mundikota Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, respondent No. 1, which was a private body. On account of certain earlier events which need not be set out here the management instituted a disciplinary enquiry against 341 the appellant and on July 7,1975, the appellant was informed by the management that it had imposed on the appellant the punishment of reversion to the post of Assistant Teacher which according to the management was the substantive post held by him. Aggrieved by the above order of reversion, the appellant filed an appeal before the Deputy Director of Education, Nagpur Division, Nagpur contending that the enquiry had been vitiated on account of violation of principles of natural justice and that he had never held the post of an Assistant Teacher to which he had been reverted.

After hearing both the parties the Deputy Director of Education passed an order dated October 3, 1975 setting aside the decision of the management and remanding the case to the management for fresh decision on the ground that the enquiry had been vitiated on account of violation of principles of natural justice. Instead of filing an appeal against that order, the management filed a review petition before the Deputy Director himself on October 17, 1975. That was rejected by the Deputy Director by his order dated November 11, 1975 on the ground that no such review petition could be filed before him. Against this order the management filed an appeal before the Director of Education and that was dismissed on May 12, 1976 affirming the order of remand passed by the Deputy Directory. The management again filed a petition before the Director of Education to reconsider the case, This petition for review was allowed by the Director on November 26, 1976 and the order passed by the Deputy Director on October 3, 1975 remanding the case to the management for a fresh decision was set aside. Aggrieved by the said order dated November 26, 1976, the appellant filed a writ petition before the High Court of Bombay on the principal ground that the Director had no jurisdiction to review his earlier order of May 12, 1976 by which he had dismissed the appeal against the order of the Deputy Director. The High Court dismissed the above writ petition holding that the appellant could not file a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution against the order passed by the Director on the ground that the teachers working in private schools could not enforce their right under clause 77 and connected clauses of the School Code which were not statutory rules. This appeal is filed against the above order of the High Court under Article 136 of the Constitution.

It is not disputed that the Deputy Director and the Director are officers of Government and the nature of functions discharged by them while hearing appeals against orders made in disciplinary 342 porceedings is quasi-judicial in character. It is also not disputed that neither of them has been authorised by the School Code to review their own decisions and that in the absence of such power, an order made on review in such quasi-judicial proceeding would be ineffective. In the writ petition the appellant was not seeking any relief directly against the management on the basis of the clauses in the School Code. If the management does not obey the order passed by the Deputy Director or the Director, it is open to the State Government to take such action under the School Code as may be permissible. In such an event, the recognition accorded to the school may be withdrawn or the grant-in-aid may be stopped. In the instant case the appellant is seeking a relief not against a private body but against an officer of Government who is always amenable to the jurisdiction of the Court. The appellant has merely sought the quashing of the impugned order dated November 26, 1976 passed by the Director on review setting aside the order of the Deputy Director. What consequences follow from the quashing of the above said order in so far as the management is concerned is an entirely different issue. In the circumstances, the High Court was wrong in holding that a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution did not lie against the impugned order passed by the Director. We are aware of some of the decisions in which it is observed that no teacher could enforce a right under the School Code which is non-statutory in character against the management. But since this petition is principally directed against the order passed in a quasi-judicial proceeding by the Director, though in a case arising under the School Code and since the Director had assumed a jurisdiction to review his own orders not conferred on him, we hold that the appellant was entitled to maintain the petition under Article 226 of the Constitution.

On merits it is not disputed that neither the Deputy Director nor the Director of Education had the power to review the orders passed by them earlier. The Director had affirmed the orders of the Deputy Director by his order dated May 12, 1976. The order passed by the Deputy Director on October 3, 1975 remanding the case to the management for holding a fresh enquiry thus became final. The Director had no power to review his earlier order. The High Court should have in the circumstances set aside the order dated November 26, 1976 passed by the Director on review setting aside the order passed by the Deputy Director. We, therefore, set aside the order dated November 26, 1976 passed by the Director of 343 Education and restore the order dated October 3, 1975 passed by the Deputy Director of Education remanding the case to the management for holding a fresh enquiry. The management may now proceed to hold the enquiry in accordance with law, if it considers it necessary. The appellant is entitled to all consequential benefits flowing from this order.

The appeal is accordingly allowed. No costs.

H.S.K. Appeal allowed.

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