The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has said writ petitions against private unaided schools were maintainable as it falls within the ambit of public functions and education rules.
The writ petitions are usually filed by citizens against the State and its agencies to protect their fundamental rights.
Justice Javed Iqbal Wani passed the order last week on a writ petition filed by a teacher, whose services have been terminated by his school in Jammu earlier this year, and directed the respondents to reinstate him.
In his petition filed through advocate Sachin Gupta, the petitioner sought quashing of the termination order by the Presentation Convent Secondary School on February 26 and his reinstatement as physics teacher.
However, the respondents sought dismissal of the writ petition on the premise that it was a private unaided minority educational institution and, hence, not amenable to writ jurisdiction.
In his order, the judge said though it was an unaided minority educational institution, the school was subject to the control and supervision of the Jammu and Kashmir School Education Act and the Jammu and Kashmir School Education Rules.
It emerges that the school”s establishment, running and functioning “is regulated by and under the provisions of the aforesaid Act and the Rules”, Justice Wani said.
He said the objection raised by the respondents regarding maintainability of the writ petition was, therefore, “not legally tenable” and the writ petition was held maintainable.
“This is a major judgment which brought all the private educational institutions under the jurisdiction of the high court,” Gupta, who pleaded the case successfully, told.
“Earlier, you cannot move to the high court directly against the private schools even if your child was rusticated,” he said.
The judgement stated that the private schools were imparting educational activities similar and closely related to those performed by the State in its sovereign capacity.
An element of public interest is involved and the actions of respondents fall within the ambit and scope of public functions. Therefore, the actions are amenable to writ jurisdiction of the court, it said.
Gupta said his client was initially appointed as teacher in the Presentation Convent Secondary School on a temporary basis with effect from November 14, 2018 to March 31, 2019. He was appointed on a probation basis on April 1, 2019.
The management, however, later started cooking a “false story” against him looking for ways to remove him, according to Gupta.
A notice was served upon the petitioner on November 19, claiming that he had taken leave for more than sanctioned days and that he had been habitual of coming late to the school.
Disposing of the case, the court directed the school to reinstate the teacher.
However, it shall be at liberty to either initiate a fresh inquiry against the teacher for alleged misconduct or else to resume the inquiry already initiated against him from the stage it had been stalled and complete it within a period of four weeks.