Bombay HC dismissed an appeal for reinstatement due to failure to prove seniority over other teachers

Title: Janabai Nivrutti Saune v. Dharmveer Shambhuraje and Ors.

Decided on: 25.08.2023

+ WRIT PETITION NO. 11554 OF 2022


Facts of the Case:

The petitioner was aggrieved by the judgment and order issued on January 6, 2022, by the School Tribunal in Pune. The petitioner had appealed against her termination from service, which was effective from February 6, 2020. The tribunal allowed the appeal, stating that her termination was against the law, but instead of reinstating her, it directed the management to pay her six months’ salary as compensation. The petitioner was dissatisfied with the denial of reinstatement relief and filed a petition.

The petitioner held educational qualifications of H.S.C. and D.Ed. She was appointed as an Assistant Teacher on January 1, 2013. Subsequently, her services were terminated on August 8, 2017, and she challenged the termination through an appeal. The tribunal partially allowed the appeal, setting aside the termination and directing her reinstatement.


The main issues were whether the petitioner’s termination was justified, whether the principle of seniority was violated, and whether her termination contradicted the reservation provisions for Backward Class employees.


The petitioner’s counsel argued that the management had not followed the “last come first go” principle in her termination and that her seniority was higher than that of certain other teachers. The petitioner’s seniority claim was based on a communication dated July 14, 2014, which the court found unsuitable for determining seniority. The petitioner also relied on Rule 26 of the Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (Conditions of Services) Rules, 1981, claiming that seniority should be observed when effecting retrenchment.

The respondent’s counsel contended that the petitioner was the junior-most Undergraduate Teacher and thus justly terminated. The other teachers were Graduate Teachers in a higher pay scale. They also argued that the petitioner’s appointment was against a reserved post for the Special Backward Class (S.B.C.) category, but since no posts were reserved for S.B.C. in the reservation roster, her termination was valid.


The court found that the petitioner failed to prove her seniority over other teachers and that the communication she relied upon was not indicative of seniority. It also noted that the respondent’s claim that the petitioner was the junior-most Undergraduate Teacher was correct. The court determined that Rule 26 did not apply as there was no departure from the principle of seniority. It concluded that the petitioner’s reliance on Rule 27(e) was unfounded due to the absence of reserved posts for the S.B.C. category. Lastly, the court rejected the petitioner’s claim of non-payment of salary since 2013, as it wasn’t raised as an independent issue earlier.

In conclusion, the court found no grounds for interfering with the tribunal’s order and dismissed the petition, stating that the tribunal’s decision was correct and legally sound.

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Written by- Aparna Gupta, University Law College & Dept. of Studies in Law

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