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The Court can interfere with the change in policy on being satisfied that it is irrational or perverse in light of the Wednesbury principle: High Court of Delhi

There cannot be any dispute that a policy decision can be reviewed from time to time. The impugned decision of the respondents is to recall its earlier decision to provide re-employment. It is implied in such a decision that retired Teachers / Vice Principals / Principals shall give way to regularly appointed Teachers / Vice Principals / Principals. The scope of judicial review with regard to change in policy is well settled. This was held in VICTORIA GIRLS SR. SEC. SCHOOL, DELHI v. DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION. [W.P.(C) 6712/2020] in the High Court of Delhi by a single bench consisting of JUSTICE V. KAMESWAR RAO.

Facts are that the petitioner is a school established in the year 1868 at Delhi for the education of Christian minorities and it was affiliated to CBSE in 1966. The petitioner Nos.2, 3, and 4 are teachers working with the petitioner who have been re-employed after attaining the age the superannuation in terms of Rule 110 of the Delhi School Education Rules, 1973. The respondents have discontinued the provision for re-employment of Teachers / Vice Principals / Principals after superannuation writ has been filed against the same.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that orders issued by the Office of Deputy Director Education whereby the requests for re-employment of the petitioners were approved by the Dy. Director. That the stand of the respondents that the incumbents have no right to continue once policy granting re-employment is revoked is nothing but arbitrary and violative of Article 14.

The counsel for the respondent submitted that the present petition is not maintainable. The respondent has taken a policy decision to do away with the reemployment with the retired teachers in government and aided schools vide the impugned order.

The court made reference to the judgement of Apex court in TMA Pai Foundation v. State of Karnataka., wherein it was observed that “it is permissible for the State and its educational authorities to prescribe qualifications of a teacher but once the teachers possessing requisite qualification were selected by the minorities for their educational institutions, the State would have no right to veto the selection of teachers”.

The court also made reference to Apex court decision in the case of  Purushottam v. Chairman, M.S.E.B. and Anr., wherein it is stated that “It is settled law that appointment should be made strictly in accordance with statutory provisions and a candidate who is entitled for appointment should not be denied the same on any pretext whatsoever as usurpation of the post by somebody else in any circumstance is not possible”.

Considering the facts of the case and the legal precedents, the court observed that the principle of legitimate expectation shall not be applicable in view of the nature of the appointment, i.e., re-employment for a fixed period and also for the reasons to revoke the policy of re-employment as detailed above. The court also directed that the petitioners Nos.2 to 4 should be allowed to continue in the larger interest of the students. While dismissing the writ petition.

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