Finding failure on the part of the Management to produce the verified roster for relevant years which led to the rejection of the earlier proposal as there was a vacancy in the open category during the relevant period, the Bombay High Court held the rejection order as arbitrary and directed to consider the Petitioner's appointment as legal.

The High Court held so after finding that the Petitioner has served as a Chemistry Teacher in the School for as many as eleven years and there are no complaints against her, and she has an unblemished service record.

The Division Bench of Justice G.S Patel and Justice Neela Gokhale observed that “the Petitioner cannot be faulted and penalised for the acts or omissions of the Management in completing the requisite formalities”.

Senior Advocate Mihir Desai appeared for the Petitioner whereas Senior Advocate NV Bandiwadekar appeared for Respondent.

The brief facts of the case were that the Petitioner who is a teacher at the fifth Respondent's school, managed by the fourth Respondent, was initially appointed as a part-time Shikshan Sevak. After successfully completing her probation period, her services were approved by the first Respondent (Department). Meanwhile, when a full-time Chemistry Teacher position became vacant due to a promotion, the Petitioner became eligible for the said position. The Management passed a resolution for her appointment, which was sent for approval to the Education Department. However, the Department rejected the approval, citing reasons that the resolution was passed two years after the Petitioner's initial appointment, the roster was not maintained or verified by the Management, and there was a backlog of reserved category candidates, leaving no vacancy in the open category.

After considering the submission, the Bench found that the current litigation was based on a previous round of legal proceedings between the parties, wherein the Department was required to verify the roster for the period during which the Petitioner was appointed to the full-time post in 2015.

The Bench found from the evidence that the roster of the teaching cadre in the school was inspected and certified by the Education Officer in 2016, wherein the data revealed that in the academic year 2016-17, there were 23 open category posts, of which only 16 were filled, resulting in a deficit of seven posts in the open category.

There seemed to be no backlog of reserved posts during the relevant period of 2016-17 and 2017-18, added the Bench.

The Bench further took note of the fact that the counsel for the Petitioner heavily relied on Government Resolutions permitting the upgrading of part-time teachers and providing preference for appointment to full-time posts for the same subject once vacant, and the Petitioner was accordingly upgraded to the full-time post, and though the resolution confirming the appointment was delayed by two years, it was done retrospectively.

Therefore, the High Court recognized the Petitioner's service and eligibility for the position, affirming her appointment as a full-time Assistant Teacher.

Cause Title: Mrunal Mandar Joshi v. State of Maharashtra and Ors.

Click here to read/download the Judgement