Decided on June 13,1963



- (1.) THIS is a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying to issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction restraining the Director of Public Instruction, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad (respondent 1), from enforcing his order in Proceedings R. C. No. 216-D2/61 dated 31 August 1961 and 2 January 1962 and from taking any action referred to in his order dated 2 April 1962. There are four other respondents, who ware subsequently imploded as party respondents as per the order dated 20 July 1962 in C. M. P. No. 5865 of 1862. They were teachers working in the Methodist Boys' Multipurpose Higher Secondary School, Hyderabad, on 31 May 1961 and who were not entertained as teachers in the school on and from 1 June 1961 by the board of management of the School which is the petitioner in this writ petition. The facts that led to the filing of the writ petition are as follows as disclosed in the affidavit of Ch. Luke, principal and correspondent of the School. The Methodist Christians of Hyderabad or Telangana form a small minority of the population of the erstwhile Hyderabad State and are also a minority in the State of Andhra Pradesh. The Methodist Boys' Multipurpose Higher Secondary School was established by the South India Annual Conference of 1921 for the spiritual and secular benefit of the Methodist Christians of Hyderabad Episcopal area. The legislative organ for the Methodist Church is called "conference," and the South India Annual Conference was succeeded to by the Hyderabad Annual Conference, which set up a Board of Christian Education that control the educational policy of all its educational institutions within its area. The presiding bishop is the administrative head of the conference and also the chairman of the board of management of the school. The principal and correspondent of the school is appointed by the bishop from among the ordained ministerial members of the conference. The school was set up to receive and educate the students passing out of the mission's middle school located at Vikarabad and also to receive and educate children coming from the various primary schools of the mission in the villages around Hyderabad. The school was established as a residential School. In the year 1923 recognition was accorded to this school by the then British Residency and the same was continued by the Government of His Exalted Highness the Nizam of Hyderabad in about the year 1947. The school was established with the funds of the Methodist Church at a cost of about 18 lakhs of rupees and about 2 lakhs of rupees were granted by the Government towards capital investment. The annual budget is about Rs. 3 lakhs out of which the State and Central Governments contribute about Be. 93,000. It is alleged that the School is thus established, maintained and administered by and on behalf of the minority belonging to the Methodist Christians in Hyderabad. In the year 1953, the total strength of the school was 1,194. A kindergarten section comprising one class was started as an experimental measure. In addition to this, the School was converted in 1955 into a multipurpose higher secondary School in implementation of the scheme of education of the Government of India. On account of the introduction of the multipurpose scheme, new buildings and equipment had to be added at a cost of about Ra, 5. 75 lakhs out of which the Government of India contributed a sum of Rs. 1,76,000 which amount is included in the figure of Bs. 2,00,000 already referred to. As a result of the opening of the kindergarten section and the introduction of the multipurpose courses, the strength of the School rose from 1,604 in 1955 to 3,158 in 1961. It is further alleged that as the kindergarten section was an experimental measure, the teachers to teach in that section were being recruited only on a temporary basis. Farther, the growing strength of the School and the difficulty of accommodation to meet the increasing demands made it impossible for the management to entertain any additional staff on a permanent basis. By 1981, the kindergarten section had grown to eight sections with a strength of 360 children.
(2.) IN view of the above circumstances, the management reviewed the situation and found that the continuance of kindergarten section would create problems of admisson into the higher classes and also of accommodation. Therefore, the management decided that in the best interests of the school, the kindergarten action should be closed down altogether and this decision was duly communicated to the Director of Public Instruction, It was pointed out farther that the quota of teachers prescribed by the departmental rules is only 78 whereas the actual number of teachers employed in the school was 109. But the management felt that the services of all the 31 teachers need not be dispensed with; and they decided to abolish 12 posts in the kindergarten Section because of the closure of the section, 1 post of Hindi teacher in the lower primary section, 1 post of music teacher which was already under suspension from November 1958, 3 posts of laboratory assistants in the multipurpose section and 3 posts of workshop assistants in the technical departments of the multipurpose section. It is stated that these assistants were superfluous since the technical instructors, who were hitherto handling only theory classes and henoe did not have full permissible load of work, could handle the practical classes also. As a result, the services of 31 teachers were dispensed with. Oat of these the services of 28 teachers terminated on 31 May 1961 as per the agreements of service; but they were asked to apply for reappolntments so that the management might be enabled to study the actual requirements and decide whether any of them could be given re-employment. Of these, 28 teachers applied for reappointment, but only 15 out of them could be subsequently re-employed. By his letter dated 20 May 1961, the principal and correspondent of the School intimated to the Director of Public Instruction that the board of management, considered the situation at a meeting held on 21 April 1961 and decided to close down the kindergarten section. In that letter, it was pointed out that the closing of the kindergarten section would involve the school in a loss of about Rs. 30,000 a year. It was also pointed out that the Government auditors repeatedly remarked that the staff in the school was very much over and above the prescribed quota and snggested that the staff be reduced. Then the letter referred to the method adopted to carry out the decision of the board of management sad intimated that they were able to absorb 13 out of 31 teachers and that it might be possible to absorb a few more. Finally, the services of 13 teachers could not be taken by the management. But this writ petition is concerned only with ten teachers two of whom only were in permanent service. Then the management received a letter dated 25 May 1931 from respondent 1 stating that it bad been brought to his notice that the management had served notices of termination of services with effect from 1 June 1961 of about 30 teachers of the school. Respondent 1 directed the management to maintain the status quo pending farther consideration and to report compliance immediately. To this, the management replied by its letter dated 27 May 1961 setting out the details of the reorganization of the school and the resultant termination of the services. It was pointed out in this reply that eleven of the teachers had been employed only on a temporary basis and that their services terminated by 31 May 1961 and that the permanent teachers, whose services were dispensed with, were offered salary in lieu of notice as per the agreement. But by his order R. C. No. 216-D2/61 dated 31 August 1961, respondent 1 directed that the ten teachers mentioned in that order should be reinstated with retrospective effect from 1 Jane 1961. There was further correspondence between the petitioner and respondent 1. But respondent 1 by his letter dated 2 January 1962 ordered that the management should reinstate the ton teachers immediately and send a compliance report urgently so as to reach respondent l's office not later than 16 January 1962 and intimated that if the management failed to do so, the department will take such action as it deems fit without any further notice. Against that order, the management submitted a petition dated 15 January 1962 to the Secretary to Government, Education Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, but no reply was received. It was further alleged in the affidavit that respondent 1 finally informed on 28 June 1962 that unless the ten teachers were reinstated by 8 July 1962, action would be taken as per the letter dated 2 January 1962. This writ petition was filed on 4 July 1962.
(3.) IT is alleged that respondent 1 had no Jurisdiction to pass the orders in question directing the re-employment of the ten teachers. It is also alleged that neither the Rules for the Recognition of Schools nor Grant-in-aid Rules of 1952 conferred any jurisdiction on respondent 1 to pass the orders in Question. It is also claimed that the management in question has the fundamental right as a minority to establish and administer its educational institutions and therefore even assuming that there is any rule empowering respondent 1 to order the management to re-employ the ten teachers, such a power conflicts with the fundamental right guaranteed to the minority under Article 30 of the Constitution of India and is therefore void.;

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