Decided on February 24,2003

SHAJI Appellant


Jawahar Lal Gupta, C. J. - (1.) DOES a teacher have an indefeasible right to be appointed as the Headmaster/principal of the School merely on the basis of his seniority? can the State Education Department compel the School Manager of an aided school to appoint the senior most teacher as the Head of the Institution despite the fact that Criminal cases involving moral turpitude are pending against him? primarily, these are the issues that arise in this bunch of cases.
(2.) THE post of Principal, S. N. V. Sanskrit Higher Secondary School, North Parur , is the bone of contention. THE primary contestants are Mr. P. K. Ramachandran Nair (referred to as the petitioner) and Mr. M. V. Shaji (the sixth respondent ). THE contest between the two has led to these eight cases. Learned counsel for the parties are agreed that the facts as given in O. P. No. 28843 of 2002 may be noticed. The petitioner was appointed as a High School assistant on July 15,1976. He has continued to hold this post. In the seniority list reflecting the position as on January 1, 2001, he is shown to be the senior most teacher in the school. On April 1,2002, the post of Headmaster in the School was likely to fall vacant on the retirement of the original incumbent. On March 22, 2002, the Deputy Director sent a communication to the Manager. He directed that the post be filled up according to seniority. A copy of this communication has been produced as Ext. P4. In anticipation of the coming events, the petitioner staked his claim. He submitted a representation dated March 28,2002 claiming that he was entitled to be appointed as Headmaster on the retirement of the incumbent on March 31,2002. However, the petitioner's request was not accepted. Vide order dated April 1,2002, Mr. Shaji, the 6th respondent, was appointed as the Principal of the School. A copy of the order is Ext. P2. The case was forwarded to the District Educational Officer for approval. The petitioner submitted a representation challenging the validity of the order. His challenge was accepted by the District Educational Officer vide order dated mar 17,2002. A copy of the order has been produced as Ext. P5.
(3.) AFTER having submitted the case for the approval of the appointment of respondent No. 6 as the Principal, the school Manager approached this Court through a petition under Article 226 of the constitution. He prayed for the issue of a direction to the State of Kerala and others to accord approval to the appointment of the Principal. This petition was registered as O. P. No. 11629 of 2002. On July 22, 2002, a learned Single Judge of this Court gave an interim direction that the matter be considered and decided within one month. A copy of the order has been produced as Ext. P6. The authority considered the matter. Vide order dated August 29,2002, the proposal was rejected. A copy has been produced as Ext. P7. After the Department had refused to approve the appointment of the 6th respondent as Principal, the petitioner submitted a representation dated September 21,2002 to the School Manager, the 5th respondent herein. A copy of this representation has been produced as Ext. P8 Less than a week later, he submitted another representation dated September 27,2002 to the 4th respondent viz. the District Education Officer. A copy is Ext. P9. On October 3, 2002, the District Educations Officer directed the School Manager to promote the senior most teacher as the Headmaster. A copy of this communication has been produced with a Miscellaneous Application as Ext. P10. On December 27,2002, the Secretary to the Government addressed a communication to the 5th respondent directing that a suitable, qualified and senior most High School Assistant be appointed as Headmaster with additional charge as Principal. A copy of this communication was produced by the petitioner through a Civil Miscellanious petition as Ext. P11. However, finding that the respondent were not responding favourably, the petitioner approached this Court through the present petition with the prayer that a writ, order or direction be issued to the 5th respondent to promote and appoint him as "headmaster of the S. N. V. Sanskrit Higher secondary School with the additional charge of the Principal of the school. " He further prayed that a direction be given restraining the 6th respondent from functioning as Headmaster/principal.;

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