Disregarding higher qualification in favour of lower qualifications for filling a vacant post is not legally sustainable: High Court of Bombay

For qualification as a government teacher, B.Ed. Degree with Non-Marathi subject of methodology will not erode the value of Post Graduate Degree in Marathi since qualification for teaching and services is based on set provisions, rules, and guidelines. This auspicious judgment was passed by the High Court of Sikkim in the matter of ASHOK S/O UDHAV KOTHAWALE V. THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA & ORS. [WRIT PETITION No. 10565 of 2015] by Honourable Justice N. J. Jamadar.

This writ petition is filed to challenge the judgment and order passed by the learned Presiding Officer, School Tribunal, Solapur upholding the termination of his service by the School as valid.

The petitioner after appraisal of the qualification and credentials as well as his performance in the interview was appointed as a Shikshan Sevak and he joined the post. After his joining the proposal of selecting the petitioner and another candidate, who was selected through the Scheduled Tribe category, was sent for further consideration. However, the Education Officer selected the other candidate and refused to select the petitioner relying on the directive previously issued by the Director of Education. However, the petitioner argued this refusal was unjustified since he was appointed against a clear vacancy after duly following regular selection process.

In his petition at Division Bench the Court observed that “Prima-facie, the petitioner possessed the requisite qualification for appointment as Teacher to teach Marathi. However, since during the pendency of the said petition he was terminated.” Thus, “It would be appropriate for the petitioner to challenge the order of termination before the School Tribunal.”

He filed an appeal before the School Tribunal assailing the legality, propriety, and correctness of the termination order to which the Tribunal on basis of the material on record and submissions found the termination to be legal and valid.

Consequently, the Aurangabad Bench of the High Court of Bombay relied on Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (Conditions of Service) Act, 1977 and Schedule-B of the Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (Conditions of Service) Rules, 1981 and observed that “It would be naive to expect a person, who is totally uninitiated into a particular discipline, to impart training in that discipline merely because he happens to be a graduate. However, this principle cannot be stretched to such an extreme that the authorities decline to take into account the fact that the candidate possesses higher qualification of post-graduation in that discipline.

Thus, the Court held, that the School Tribunal had fallen into an error in reading the requirement of graduation for fulfilling the criteria of qualification for appointment. Additionally, the second ground was also considered, “a weak foundation of disqualification since not opting for Marathi as the subject of methodology of school-subject while pursuing B.Ed. is not acceptable since he has basic knowledge of the primary subject at graduation or post-graduation level.”

Thus, the Court held that the “Order of termination stands rejected and should be set aside and the aggrieved petitioner should be reinstated in service with effect from 12th of October 2013 with all the consequential benefits and 40% (forty percent) back-wages from the date of termination till the date of reinstatement.

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