Municipal Corpn. of
Greater Mumbai Vs. Laxmi Harish Sharma & Ors.  INSC 1444 (27 August
JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5268 OF 2008 [Arising out of SLP(C) No.8163 of
2006] MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF .......APPELLANT(S) GREATER MUMBAI Versus
granted. Heard learned counsel for the parties.
first respondent was a teacher in the third respondent school run by the second
respondent Trust. She was appointed in the year 1990 and confirmed on
24.6.1993. Within one month thereafter, by letter dated 21.7.1993, the school
management informed the first respondent that her services were terminated with
effect from 31.7.1993 on account of reduction in the student strength in
Standard-II. Even though the Superintendent of the Schools Section of the
appellant Municipal Corporation, by letter dated 11.9.1993, directed the school
management to reinstate the first respondent, she was not reappointed. The
first respondent therefore approached the High Court in W.P. No.1879 of 1993.
The High Court, by judgment dated 30.8.2005 has allowed the writ petition. It
held that the school management could not terminate the .......2.
-2- services of a
teacher on the ground of reduction in number of students in a division without
the approval of the school department of the Municipal Corporation.
Incidentally it also
referred to certain action of the officials of the appellant-Corporation which
according to the Court were not satisfactory. The Court has chosen to term
certain act of one of the officers of the Corporation as 'an act intended to
mislead the Court'. Ultimately, the High Court directed that first respondent
be reinstated from the date on which she was terminated with 50% back wages.
The Court also directed the appellant Municipal Corporation to pay the said
back wages to the first respondent and thereafter recover it from the
management as well as from its own officers who are found liable after taking
action for fixing liability on that behalf.
school management has accepted the said judgment. It has not challenged the
order of the High Court. On the other hand, it has filed a counter affidavit in
this Court on 26.7.2006 stating that in compliance of the order of the High
Court, the first respondent had been reinstated. It has also submitted that it
supports the order directing the payment of 50% back wages in principle.
grievance of the appellant Municipal Corporation .....3.
-3- is in regard to
the observation against its officers and the direction to recover 50% back
wages not only from the management but also from its own officers who are found
liable after fixing liability.
an examination of facts and circumstances, we feel that the direction to the
appellant to hold an enquiry and fix responsibility on the officers of the
appellant appears to be unwarranted. Similarly, the Court's observation that
the submission of an officer of a Corporation that the first respondent could
have filed an appeal under Rule 20 of Appendix-VII of the Grant-in-Aid Code,
amounted to misleading the Court was also unwarranted. Mere wrong statement of
law does not amount to misleading the Court.
grievance is also made that the High Court ought not to have directed the
appellant Municipal Corporation to pay the amount and thereafter recover it
from the school management. It is submitted that only the school management
ought to have been directed to pay the amount. It is, however, not disputed
that the appellant corporation will not be put to any loss as it can recover
the amount from the management.
is not, therefore, necessary to examine the ........4.
-4- contention of
the appellant that the Court ought to have directed the school management to
directly pay the amount to the first respondent instead of directing the
appellant Municipal Corporation to pay the amount and recover it from the
That question is left
the circumstances, we are of the view that the matter can be disposed of by
deleting the direction to fix responsibility on the part of the officers of the
corporation and the direction to recover any amount from its own officers. We
also delete the observation that any officer of the Corporation attempted to
mislead the Court. As a result, the appellant Municipal Corporation will have
to now pay the 50% backwages amount to the first respondent, if it has not
already been paid, and recover the same from the management as per the
direction of the High Court. The appellant Municipal Corporation is given eight
weeks' time to make payment. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
( R.V. RAVEENDRAN )
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