The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal filed by a teacher working in an ME School who claimed that she had not received her salary while noting that all appointments were declared illegal and void ab initio by order of the District Elementary Education Officer (Director), and therefore, the Appellant could not claim salary.

The Bench comprising Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Rajesh Bindal observed, “Once the appointment of the appellant had been declared illegal and void ab initio, and was cancelled by the Director of Elementary Education, Assam vide order dated 18.10.2001, the appellant could not legally continue in service thereafter, unless that cancellation order was set aside”.

Advocate Pravir Choudhary appeared for the Appellants and Advocate Shuvodeep Roy appeared for the Respondent.

In 1996, an advertisement was released to hire 7,500 Assistant Teachers for M.E./M.V. Schools. However, the selection list was not released due to a government ban on appointments in Assam. Eventually, the ban was lifted, and the Appellant’s name appeared for vacant positions in the Udalguri Legislative Assembly Constituency. In 2001, the Appellant was appointed as an Assistant Teacher in Bengabari M.E./M.V./M.E.M. School under the Operation Black Board Scheme. The Appellant contended that she was working at the school since but has not received any salary. The Appellant filed a petition before the High Court, which was dismissed by a Single Judge. The order was also upheld in an intra-court appeal. The Appellant was dissatisfied with the decisions and has filed a Civil Appeal before the Court to challenge them.

The Court held that the cancellation order of the Director was not contested by the Appellant, which means they were not authorized to continue in their service. There is no evidence that the Appellant was allowed to work beyond 31.03.2002, so they cannot demand any payment of salary, the Court emphasized. The Court noted that even though their service ended seven years ago, the appellant filed a writ petition in 2008, claiming salary from 12.03.2001 onwards.

Thus, the appellant had no legal right to continue in service, especially when there is no order or letter placed on record by the appellant that she was allowed to continue beyond 31.03.2002. No claim for payment of salary could be made for any period. Even otherwise, it is difficult to believe that a person has been working for two decades without any salary. Even the writ petition was filed by her in the High Court in the year 2008, claiming salary from 12.03.2001 onwards i.e., seven years later”, the Bench noted.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the Appeal and upheld the impugned orders.

Cause Title: Dulu Deka v. State of Assam (2023 INSC752)

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