Chennai: The Madras high court has ruled that when there is violation of right of an individual eligible candidate (for selection) by the minority institution by not adopting fair procedure, then it is liable to be tested in exercise of power of judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution.
Justice D.Krishnakumar gave the ruling while dismissing two petitions from the Association of St. Christophers College of Education and Marian Usha Rani, which challenged an order of the Joint Director of School Education, cancelling the appointment of Marian Usha Rani as Headmistress of Bentinck Higher Secondary School for Girls, Vepery, Chennai, run by the Association.
The judge said the contention of Senior Counsel Fr.Xavier Arul Raj, appearing for the petitioner management that in the ‘Office Note’ no age limit was prescribed for the in-service candidates cannot be accepted, since no material has been produced before this court to show that the ‘Office Note’ was communicated to the eligible teachers or displayed in the notice board.
The judge said it clear from the records that the management has not placed any materials to show that the ‘Office Note” inviting applications from the in-service candidates has been communicated to the PG teachers who were working in the said school, nor the management has considered the eligible candidates who were working as PG teachers in their school, for promotion to the post of Headmistress by the management committee. On the contrary, N.Marian Usha Rani was appointed to the post of Headmistress of the school even though she has not satisfied the age limit of 48 years as on June 1, 2013 fixed in the advertisement and more so, without proper communication to the other eligible teachers working in the school, the judge added.
The judge said a perusal of the record shows that numerous teachers, who were qualified to the post of Headmistress and working in the school, have not applied for the said post, because of age limit prescribed in the advertisement. Further, no internal communication was issued to the eligible teachers. A careful reading of the qualification mentioned in the advertisement makes it clear that it was only for direct recruitment for the post of Headmistress of the petitioner school. But, there was no mention that in-service candidates shall also apply to the post of headmistress, the judge added.
The judge said in so far as the petitioner minority institution was concerned, the institution has not followed fair procedure in the selection process to the post of Headmistress of the School. Therefore, this court has the power of judicial review to examine the fairness of selection process conducted by the petitioner school. “The petitioner management has not adopted fair procedure in the selection for appointment to the post of Headmistress of the school by giving equal opportunity to the in-service teachers of the school. There is no material placed to show that applications from all the in-service teachers for recruitment to the post of Headmistress of the school were invited. Thus, the contentions of the petitioner management are negative and the same are rejected. The impugned order passed by the authorities is perfectly valid and there is no scope to interfere with the order passed by the school education department”, the judge added.