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English teacher cannot be directed to teach mathematics in a Tribal school, just because of the vacancy in the post: Bombay High Court

The decision that an English teacher cannot be directed to teach mathematics in a Tribal school and that the future of the tribal students cannot be neglected, just because of the vacancy in the post is upheld by the High Court of Bombay through the learned bench led by HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE RAVINDRA V. GHUGE AND HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE S. G. DIGE in the case of BABU AMRUTRAO SHINDE VERSUS THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA AND OTHERS (1007 WRIT PETITION NO.14137 OF 2021).

Brief facts of the case are that the Petitioner is an English teacher having the educational qualifications of Bachelor of Arts and B.Ed. He has never specialized in Mathematics and had never studied this subject at the graduation level or thereafter. He was transferred to Zilla Parishad High School, Bodhadi, Tq. Kinwat. Upon reaching there and reporting at the school, he was asked to teach Mathematics as the posts for English teacher were filled and the post of Mathematics teacher was vacant. When the helpless petitioner opposed the same, his attendance was not marked and his salary was not provided. Hence, he filed the present petition challenging his transfer order.

The Counsel for Petitioner, Mr V. S. Panpatte, provided necessary details about the educational qualifications and non-experience of the petitioner in the field of mathematics. He also expressed the helplessness of the petitioner on reaching Bodhadi as he could not teach mathematics. He mentioned that the petitioner is vehemently opposing the transfer and is ready to work at any place in the Nanded Zilla Parishad.

The Counsel for Respondents, Mr S. B. Pulkundwar, has vehemently argued that the petitioner was directed to teach mathematics because only the post of the mathematics teacher was vacant and that any post in the tribal area could not be left vacant. He argued that if there are vacancies in the post of a Mathematics teacher, the Zilla Parishad will direct anyone who is available, even if he does not teach Mathematics, to be placed in the school to teach Mathematics according to seniority. He claims that any subject would be taught by a senior most teacher.

The court was astonished and extremely disappointed by the submissions of the counsel for Respondents and the Education officer’s wisdom of appointing an English teacher to teach mathematics just because of the vacancy. The judges showed their disappointment and stated that the future of the tribal students cannot be neglected and they should not be treated as lesser human beings. Asking an English teacher to teach them mathematics would mean their education is compromised, which should not be the case. Hence the Hon’ble judges gave the judgement that the transfer order of the petitioner to Bodhadi is quashed and his salary is to be paid. The court also directed the Divisional Commissioner, to issue a ‘strict warning’ memo to the Chief Executive Officer and to enter the warning in her service record.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY- ATIVA GOSWAMI

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