In the present case, the petitioner is an employee of the School of which Respondent No.1 is a secretary, Respondent 2 is the Headmistress, and Respondent 3 is the Education officer. The petitioner is appealing the impugned judgment passed by the School Tribunal under Section 9 of the Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (Conditions of Service) Regulation Act, 1977. A single-judge adjudicating the matter of Mangesh v. The Secretary and Ors (WRIT PETITION NO.15573 OF 2019) dealt with an issue of whether to allow the present writ petition or not.
The petitioner was appointed as an Asst. Teacher on 02.02.2012. Respondent 3 approves his appointment on 13.12.2013 and 18.11.2016 and 05.12.2016 the Respondent 2 served him show-cause notices complaining about absenteeism. It was also submitted that an illegal notice for recovery of amount of Rs.24,24,878/- was served to his paternal uncle by a credit society of which President of the Management was the Secretary, on 28.12.2016. A police complaint was filed on 24.01.2017 stating that he was compelled to pay huge amounts of money to continue serving as a teacher. He was threatened with physical harm and was also threatened that he would not be allowed to discharge his duties.
Respondents 1 and 2 denied all the contentions and opposed the appeal and also added that under a compromiser to settle the dispute, the petitioner volunteered to tender resignation by accepting a sum of Rs.2,60,000/- towards the full and final settlement. Accordingly, he tendered resignation on 02.02.2017 and the Management has accepted it in its meeting on 22.02.2017. In this manner, there was no question of any otherwise termination.
The Petitioner stated that till the fag end the resignation and a copy of the resolution were not produced. Also, the respondent Nos. 1 and 2 to prove their contention regarding legal termination of employment by tendering the resignation voluntarily. Despite a specific objection having been raised by the petitioner the Tribunal allowed the documents to be brought on record and has accepted it to be true and correct. The burden was on the respondents to prove their contention but they miserably failed to do that despite an opportunity having been extended by this Court in the earlier round of litigation and the Tribunal has grossly erred in accepting it to be a genuine resignation. Reference was also made to the various decision of the Court and also pointed that purport and scope of Section 7 of the M.E.P.S. Act and Rule 40 of the Rules framed thereunder provide for the procedure for resignation by employees of private schools and how it is to be put up and accepted. It was also submitted that the whole purpose of providing this procedure is to obviate any opportunity for the Management which is in a dominant position to procure resignation from the employee under duress. Submissions were made that the ignoring the law and overlooking the facts the Tribunal has dismissed the Appeal. The judgment and order are perverse and arbitrary and this Court should intervene in the exercise of the Writ Jurisdiction.
The Respondents submitted that the appellant was allowed to put up his case by way of amendment to the Appeal memo when this Court had permitted him to do so in the earlier round. Despite such opportunity, he failed to come out with necessary pleadings touching the aspect of tendering of the resignation and even failed to amend the prayer clause despite the liberty granted to him. This was a specific contention raised in the additional reply filed by them after such an amendment of the Appeal Memo. Despite it, he never bothered to rectify the error and continued with the hearing of the Appeal with such inherent defect. On this ground alone his Appeal was liable to be dismissed.
The court observed that the whole dispute revolves around tendering of the resignation on 02.02.2017. There is number of decisions, apart from the decisions cited on behalf of the petitioner (supra) interpreting the scope and ambit of the wordings of Section 7 of the M.E.P.S. Act and the Rule 40. It was concluded that going by the provisions of Section 7 and Rule 40 it was imperative that the resignation should be in the handwriting of the employee and should bear the date and his signature. It was thus concluded that taking a stock of all these decisions, compliance with the requirements of Section 7 will have to be seen in totality, to find out whether a resignation was tendered voluntarily or otherwise and would depend upon all relevant facts and circumstances.
The respondent Nos. 1 and 2 were remiss in bringing on record the resignation and the resolution accepting it and had waited till the fag end. However, going by the sequence of events mentioned at the inception, even the petitioner is equally remiss and has not even bothered to come out with specific pleadings attributing duress to the respondent Nos.1 and 2 and tendering of the resignation involuntarily. If they were not ready to produce it on the record since it was according to a direction of this Court in the earlier round that the matter was remanded and the parties were put to notice that the issue touching tendering of the resignation was to be framed and decided, it was equally important for the petitioner to have been more active.
if one undertakes some scrutiny of facts it is quite apparent that there are number of loopholes in the case of the petitioner. If such was the state of affairs, it seems highly improbable, as has been even otherwise pointed out by the Tribunal that there could not have been any occasion for the Management to extend threats in presence of the Police Inspector that too in the Police Station. Pertinently it is not the case of the petitioner that even the concerned Police Inspector had played any role in exerting the pressure.