State Cannot Be Blamed For Failure Of Management To Pay Salary To Their Employees: Bombay High Court
Finding that the Education Department cannot be blamed for the plight of the Petitioner since the entire chaos is the failure to act on the part of the Management, the Bombay High Court directed the educational trust (third respondent) and Junior College (fourth respondent) to reinstate the Petitioner on her post and continue to pay salary to her as per the applicable scale.
The Division Bench of Justice G.S Patel and Justice Neela Gokhale observed that “By way of an interim order, we had already restrained the Management from filling up the post held by the Petitioner and now we have no hesitation in directing the Management to reinstate and continue the services of the Petitioner on the post and bear the entire expenditure of her salary”.
At the same time, the Bench clarified that it cannot saddle the exchequer with the responsibility to bear the expenditure of the salary of the Petitioner as the State cannot be faulted for the substantive lapses in the selection procedure adopted by the Management.
Senior Advocate NV Bandiwadekar appeared for the Petitioner, whereas AGP PJ Gavhane appeared for the Respondent.
The brief facts of the case are that the Petitioner is an employee of the fourth Respondent – Junior College run by the third Respondent - Educational Trust. The second Respondent is the Deputy Director of Education of the first Respondent - State of Maharashtra. The Petitioner was first appointed as a full-time Chemistry Teacher in the Junior College on an ad hoc basis and in the unaided division for the year 2012-2013. Thereafter, responding to an advertisement published in a newspaper, “Daily Loksatta”, the Petitioner applied for the post of Chemistry Teacher in the same college. The Petitioner was selected and appointed as Full-time Chemistry Teacher temporarily. Later, the Petitioner’s contract was renewed. Although the Petitioner discharged her work regularly, her services were not made permanent as the Management failed to submit the necessary proposal to the Education Department for approval of the Petitioner’s services. When the petition filed by Petitioner was pending adjudication before the High Court, the Management terminated the Petitioner’s services leading to this Court passing protective orders restraining the Management from filling up the posts occupied by the Petitioner and paying salary to the Petitioner, etc. The High Court also directed the Management to submit a proposal for approval of the Petitioner’s services to the Education Department. Accordingly, the Management submitted the proposal, but it was rejected by the Education Department. Hence, the Petitioner approached the High Court challenging the order of the Education Department.
After considering the submission, the Bench found that the Order of Feb 22, 2022, clearly casts the responsibility of paying differential salary to the Petitioner on the Management, and despite specific directions to the Management to submit the proposal for approval by the Education Department, the approach of the Management appears to be completely irresponsible.
“The Management appears to be unfazed by the plight of its teachers, for which solely and wholly the Management itself is responsible. Even after this Court’s order, the proposal has been submitted in a casual manner and without annexing supporting and necessary documents”, added the Bench.
The High Court elaborated that neither the State nor the Petitioner can be faulted for the complete disarray in the recruitment procedure, as the Management could not have published the advertisement without prior approval.
While highlighting that the contents of the advertisement are not as per the provisions of the MEPS Act, the High Court observed that there is a total contravention of the Rules as temporary and ad hoc appointment letters were issued to Petitioner and other teachers.
“An attempt is made by the Management to show that after the order of refusal, some documents were sent to the Department, but nothing is placed on record to corroborate this”, added the Court.
Cause Title: Joya Vrushal Chaudhari v. State of Maharashtra and Ors.