POONAM MALHOTRA Vs. ARYA MODEL SCHOOL
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
POONAM MALHOTRA (TAMAR)
ARYA MODEL SCHOOL
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KAILASH GAMBHIR, J. -
(1.) Rule. With the consent of counsel appearing for the parties the matter is taken up for final hearing. The petitioner who got employment as a nursery teacher with respondent No.1 school is aggrieved with the order dated 24.03.2004 passed by respondent No.2, the Directorate of Education, Government of NCT of Delhi. The petitioner has sought quashing of the said order and has claimed reinstatement with full back wages and other perks/allowances etc. against respondent No.1 school. The brief background of facts necessary for deciding the present writ petition inter-alia are that earlier the petitioner had filed a writ petition bearing CWP No.7538/2003 on the same grounds and vide orders dated 18.11.2003 this Court in CWP No. 7558/2003 and CMP No.12863/2003 gave the following directions:-
"Counsel for the petitioner concedes that the offending acts of the respondents have not been brought to the notice of the Directorate of Education who, under the Delhi School Education Act, 1973 has ample powers to look into the grievances which have been raised in the writ petition. Counsel says that liberty be granted to the petitioner to withdraw the writ petition to enable the petitioner to make a representation to the Directorate of Education. Liberty granted. Writ petition is dismissed as withdrawn, however, it is directed that on the petitioners making a detailed representation to the Directorate of Education, the same shall be processed and within four weeks of receipt of the representation, the same would be considered and disposed of by a detailed speaking order which shall be intimated to the petitioner." Pursuant to the said directions respondent No.2 had passed impugned order dated 24.03.2003 and operative portion of the said impugned order is reproduced as under:-
"Keeping in view the above facts and after carefully going through the file and various documents placed on record, it is quite clear that Mrs. Poonam Malhotra, (the petitioner) was appointed as Nursery Teacher on ad-hoc basis in an un-recognized school where she worked upto 31.03.2002. She was not allowed to continue with effect from 1.4.2002 but she filed the petition in Nov., 2003 and thus, no fresh directions can be given for reinstating her services in the Respondent school after a long gap of 19 months. However, strict directions are issued to the management of Arya Model School to immediately abandon the practice of recruiting teachers on ad-hoc basis and seek the approval of the Director of Education for the recognition of its Nursery Wing, as per rules on the subject."
(2.) Being dissatisfied with the said order passed by the Directorate of Education the petitioner has filed the present writ petition challenging the said order as well as claiming reinstatement on the post of Nursery Teacher with respondent No.1 school. The claim of the petitioner is that she was employed as a Nursery Teacher w.e.f. 15.11.1999 on a monthly salary of Rs.3000/- on adhoc basis and this temporary arrangement was extended from time to time by respondent No.1 till 31.03.2002, thereafter, the petitioner was not allowed to resume her duties. The petitioner further stated that the petitioner was being forced to deposit Rs.1400/- per month in some Donation Box (Danpatra) which was kept by the school in the school premises and when she had refused to contribute towards danpatra she met with the said fate of her removal. Petitioner further stated that her monthly salary was increased within this period and she also became a member of the Public Provident Fund, 1952 and necessary deductions towards the provident fund out of her monthly salary were being deposited. The petitioner further stated that the Principal of respondent No.1, school, got five letters signed by the petitioner without mentioning any date on these letters so as to use them for some ulterior purposes. The petitioner has stated that neither appointment letter was issued in her favour nor any termination order was passed by respondent No.2 and, therefore, the petitioner is aggrieved with such illegal and arbitrary acts of respondent No.1. On the other hand, the case of respondent No.1 as set out in the counter affidavit is that there is no infirmity in order passed by the Directorate of Education as the petitioner was never vested with any legal right on the post of Nursery Teacher. The petitioner was appointed as adhoc teacher on a temporary basis and her temporary employment was being extended from time to time till 31.03.2002. The petitioner did not undergo any selection process and was just appointed on trial basis as per her own request made in July 2000. The petitioner was fully aware of the fact that her appointment was temporary and she had no vested right on the said post. The respondent has placed reliance on various letters signed by the petitioner herself through which she had approached respondent No.1 school seeking appointment on the post of nursery teacher and subsequent extensions sought by the petitioner from time to time. Last such letter dated 02.04.2002 was addressed by the petitioner whereby the extension for three months was given till 31.03.2002.
(3.) I have heard counsel for the parties. The main thrust of arguments of Mr. S.P. Minocha, counsel for the petitioner is that as to how a recognized school can employ teachers in such a fashion where no appointment letters are issued and no termination orders are passed. He also submitted that every recognized school has to follow the provisions of Delhi School Education Act and Rules framed thereunder. He further submitted that the decision to make the petitioner as a member of Public Provident Fund Scheme 1952 and deductions towards Provident Fund contribution from salary itself is indicative of the fact that she was not a temporary employee but was a permanent employee. Per contra on the other hand, counsel for the respondent submitted that the petitioner was well aware of the nature of her employment and due to this reason alone she had never taken any action against respondent No.1 management for a period of more than fourteen months. Counsel for the respondent also pointed out that on 28.04.2003 she had obtained experience certificate under her own signatures, although she had applied to obtain the said certificate much earlier than the said date. The contention of counsel for the respondent is that till 28.04.2003 she did not take any action and it is only in September, 2003 for the first time that the legal notice was sent by the petitioner.;
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