SR Y PHILOMENA Vs. PRL SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
Y.PHILOMENA, PRINCIPAL AND CORRESPONDENT ST.ANN'S COLLEGE, MEHDIPATNAM, HYDERABAD
PRL.SECRETARY TO GOVT, EDUCATION DEPARTMENT, HYDERABAD
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Sivaraman Nair, J. -
(1.)This appeal arises from the judgment in W.P.No.7412 / 92. Petitioner is the appellant. She assailed her transfer 'on religious grounds' from the posts of Principal & Correspondent of St. Ann's Degree and Post Graduate Colleges and Correspondent of St. Ann's Junior College for Girls, Mehdipatnam to the Generalate of St.Ann's Society at Guntur. The transfer was made by the 7th respondent who is the Superior General of the Society of St. Ann, Guntur. She replaced the petitioner by appointing respondent No.5 as the Correspondent of the three colleges and as Principal of the Degree College and Post Graduate Centre and the 6th respondent as Principal of the Junior College. Petitioner assailed the order as devoid of jurisdiction, vitiated by malafides and as violative of the principles of natural justice. Those grounds did not appeal to the learned single judge. He therefore dismissed the Writ Petition. Hence this appeal.
(2.)The pleadings in this appeal are voluminous. The rival contentions of parties have traversed a wide area. Fortunately, however, the main contestants before us viz., petitioner on the one hand and respondents 5, 6 and 7 on the other, have tried to narrow down the controversy. The peripheral issues which have taken up a lot of space have been relagated to the background as they should be. We are therefore concerned in this appeal only with three questions:
(A) Whether the 7th respondent had power and jurisdiction to transfer the petitioner from her post as Principal and Correspondent of the Colleges, conducted by the St. Ann's Convent, Mehdipatnam?
(B) Whether the transfer of the petitioner was in bona fide exercise of power and in exigencies of administration? and
(C) Whether the petitioner's transfer ought to have been preceded by notice containing the reasons for such transfer?
(3.)On the first question, Sri Parasaran, appearing for the appellant urged before us that the 7th respondent is not an educational agency, the management or the Manager of the St. Ann's Colleges as per the A.P. Education Act and the Rules made thereunder, and therefore she has no power or competence to transfer the petitioner from the post of Principal or correspondent. He referred us to the specific ground taken in the affidavit accompanying the Writ Petition, that-"the Writ of the respondent No.7 cannot run in regard to matters relating to the administration of educational institutions which are run as per the law of the land and no religious authority can be exercised over them." He also invited our attention to the portions of the judgment under appeal which indicate that the aspect of absence of power in the 7th respondent to transfer the petitioner was highlighted before the learned single Judge. The learned single Judge had also referred specifically to the constitution of a separate society viz., St. Ann's Convent, Mehdipatnam, for the purpose of establishing the colleges. These contentions were met by the 7th respondent - they found acceptance with the learned single judge that it was the 7th respondent who appointed the petitioner in her capacity as Superior General of the St. Ann's Society, Guntur and that the appointing authority necessarily has the power of transfer. The other reasons' urged by the 7th respondent also appealed to the learned single judge that the petitioner was subject to the religious discipline and was bound by the directions of the superior General as long as she continued in the religious Order.
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