MANAGER ST THOMAS UP SCHOOL KERALA Vs. COMMISSIONER AND SECY TO GENERAL EDUCATION DEPTT
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: KERALA)
MANAGER,ST.THOMAS U.P.SCHOOL KERALA
COMMISSIONER AND SECY.TO GENERAL EDUCATION DEPTT
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Ruma Pal, J. -
(1.)The appellant No. 1 is a School which claims the right to establish and administer its affairs as a minority institution under Article 30(1) of the Constitution of India. The claim was turned down by the Kerala High Court on an application filed under Article 226 by the respondents Nos. 5 and 6 in which they challenged the appointment of the appellant No. 2 as the Headmaster of the School.
(2.)The School was initially set up in 1964 by one P. J. Thomas. In 1980, it was bought by the then Archbishop of Thiruvantha-puram, of the Malankara Syrian Christians. According to the appellants, P. J. Thomas was a Christian and from 1964 the School has been administered for the benefit of the Christian community. The Government of Kerala has recognised the School as a minority institution and allowed it to enjoy the special rights available to minority institutions under Article 30.
(3.)In 1988, there was a vacancy for the post of Headmaster in the School. The appellant and the respondents 5 and 6 were all teachers in the School, the respondents 5 and 6 being senior to the second appellant. Under Rule 44, Chapter XIV-A of the Kerala Education Rules, 1959 the appointment of the Headmaster is required to be made according to seniority. However, relying on its status as a minority institution and its right to manage its own affairs, the School appointed the second appellant as its Headmaster. The Government provisionally approved the appointment. The respondent No. 5 challenged the approval by way of a statutory appeal before the Education Department of the State Government. By an order dated 18th March, 1981, the appeal was rejected on the ground that the School was a minority institution and "the right of the management to exercise absolute discretion to choose qualified hands of their choice to be the Head of the Institution has, time and again, been established through verdicts of Courts of Law. The Government have also acknowledged this right in giving approval of such appointments".
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