JAI BHAVANI SHIKSHAN PRASARAK MANDAL VS RAMESH

JAI BHAVANI SHIKSHAN PRASARAK MANDAL VS RAMESH

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPEME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO.7937 of 2011
JAI BHAVANI SHIKSHAN PRASARAK MANDAL      … APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
RAMESH & ORS.     …RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
V. Ramasubramanian, J.
1. The removal from service of respondent No.1 herein from the
post of Principal of the Institute of Pharmacy, having been set aside
by the School Tribunal, Aurangabad and the same having been
confirmed by the learned Single Judge and the Division Bench of
the High Court, the Educational Society running the Institute of
Pharmacy has come up with the above appeal.
1
2. We have heard the learned counsel appearing for the first
respondent and the learned counsel for the State of Maharashtra.
3. The appellant is an Educational Society registered under the
Bombay Public Trusts Act. It is running an institute of Pharmacy at
Gadhi Georai Dist., Beed. In the year 1991, the first respondent
herein was appointed as the Principal of the said Institute. In the
year 2004 disciplinary proceedings were initiated against him on
certain   allegations   of   serious   nature.   The   Departmental   Inquiry
Committee held an inquiry in which the first respondent was given
all   opportunities   of   fair   hearing,   including   permission   to   be
represented by a lawyer. After the completion of the inquiry, the
Inquiry Committee submitted a report on 31.07.2004 holding 7 out
of 10 charges proved. Therefore, after issuing a show cause notice
enclosing a copy of the Inquiry Report, the Management passed an
order dated 19.08.2004 imposing upon the first respondent, the
penalty of removal from service.
4. The first respondent challenged the penalty before the School
Tribunal by way of an appeal under Section 9 of the Maharashtra
Employees of Private Schools (Conditions of Service) Regulation Act,
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1977   (hereinafter   referred   to   as   the   ‘Act’).   The   School   Tribunal
framed five issues as arising for consideration namely: (i) Whether
the Inquiry Committee constituted by the Management to conduct
further   inquiry   against   the   employee   was   proper,   legal   and
permissible   by   law?  (ii)  Whether   the   Management   did   not   pay
subsistence  allowance   and  whether  non­payment   of   subsistence
allowance   vitiated   the   inquiry?;  (iii)  Whether   the   inquiry   was
vitiated on account of the fact that the Management conducted the
inquiry   by   engaging   a   lawyer?;  (iv)  Whether   the   Management
conducted the inquiry by following Rule 37 of MEPS Rules, 1981?;
and  (v)  Whether   the   impugned   dismissal   order   was   legal   and
sustainable in law.   Out of these five issues, the Tribunal found
only the issue relating to the constitution and composition of the
Inquiry   Committee   to   be   not   in   accordance   with   the   Rules.
Therefore, the said appeal was allowed by the Tribunal by an order
dated 22.06.2006, primarily on the ground that the constitution of
the Inquiry Committee was not in accordance with Rule 36(2)(b) of
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the   Maharashtra   Employees   of   Private   Schools   (Conditions   of
Service) Rules, 1981 (hereinafter referred to as the “MEPS Rules”).  
5. The appellant­Management filed a writ petition in WP No.5387
of 2006 on the file of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay,
Aurangabad Bench. A learned Judge of the High Court dismissed
the writ petition, affirming the view taken by the School Tribunal.  
6. The intra­court appeal filed by the appellant­Management was
dismissed   by   the   division   Bench,   by   placing   reliance   upon   the
decision   of   the   Full   Bench   of   the   High   Court   in  National
Education   Society,   Nagpur   and   another   vs.   Mahendra,   s/o
Baburao Jamkar and another1
.   Aggrieved by the said order the
Management is on appeal before us.
7. Since the entire dispute revolves around the constitution of
the Departmental Inquiry Committee with reference to Rule 36 of
the MEPS Rules, it is necessary first to look into Rule 36.
“36.   Inquiry   Committee.­ (1) If an employee is allegedly
found to be guilty on (any of the grounds specified in subrule (5)  of Rule 28) and the Management decides to hold an
inquiry, it shall do so through a properly constituted Inquiry
Committee. Such a committee shall conduct an inquiry only
in such cases where major penalties are to be inflicted. The
1 2007(3) Mh.L.J 707
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Chief Executive Officer authorised by the Management in
this behalf (and in the case of an inquiry against the Head
who is also the Chief Executive Officer, the President of the
Management)   shall   communicate   to   the   employee   or   the
head concerned by Registered Post  acknowledgement due
the allegations and demand from him a written explanation
within seven days from the date of receipt of the statement of
allegations. 
(2)  If the Chief Executive Officer or the President, as
the case may be, finds that the explanation submitted by the
employee   or   the   Head   referred   to   in   sub­rule   (1)   is   not
satisfactory, he shall place it before the Management within
fifteen days from the date of receipt of the explanation. The
Management shall in turn decide within fifteen days whether
an   inquiry   be   conducted   against   the   employee   and   if   it
decides   to   conduct   the   inquiry,   the   inquiry   shall   be
conducted   by   an   Inquiry   Committee   constituted   in   the
following manner, that is to say­
(a)  in the case of an employee­
(i) one member from amongst the members  of the
Management   to   be   nominated   by   the
Management,   or   by   the   President   of   the
Management   if   so   authorised   by   the
Management  whose   name   shall   be
communicated to Chief  Executive Officer within
15 days from the date of the  decision of  the
Management;
(ii) One   member   to   be   nominated   by   the  
employee from amongst the employees of any  
private school;
(iii) one   member   chosen   by   the   Chief   Executive  
Officer from the panel of teachers on  whom  
state/National Award has been conferred;
(b) in the case of the Head referred to in sub­rule (1)­
(i) one member who shall be the President of 
the  Management;
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(ii) one member to be nominated by the Head
from  amongst   the   employees   of   any
private school;
(iii) one member chosen by the President from
the  panel   of   Head   Masters   on   whom
State/National  Award   has   been
conferred.
(3) The Chief Executive Officer or, as the case may be, the
President   shall   communicate   the   names   of   members
nominated under sub­rule  (2)   by   Registered   Post
acknowledgement due to the employee or the Head referred
to in sub­ rule (1), as the case may be, directing him to
nominate a person on his behalf on the proposed Inquiry
Committee and to forward the name alongwith the written
consent of the person so nominated to the Chief Executive or
to the President, as the case may be, within fifteen days of
the receipt of the communication to that effect.
(4) If   the   employee   or   the   Head,   as   the   case   may   be,
communicates the name of the person nominated by him the
Inquiry  Committee  of  three members  shall  be  deemed  to
have been  constituted   on   the   date   of   receipt   of   such
communication   by   the   Chief   Executive   Officer   or   the
President, as the case may be. If the employee or such head
fails to communicate the name of his nominee within the
stipulated  period, the Inquiry Committee shall be deemed
to have been constituted on expiry of the stipulated period
consisting of only two members as provided in sub­rule (2).
(5) The   Convener   of   the   respective   Inquiry   Committee
shall be the nominee of the President, or as the case may be,
the   President   who   shall   initiate   action   pertaining   to   the
conduct of the Inquiry Committee and shall maintain all the
relevant record of the Inquiry.
(6) The meetings of the Inquiry Committee shall be held in
the   School   premises   during   normal   school   hours   or
immediately thereafter, if the  employee   agrees   and   even
during vacation.”
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8. Two expressions namely “Head” and “Chief Executive Officer”
used   in   sub­rule   (1)   of   Rule   36   provide   the   fulcrum   of   the
controversy on hand. The expression “Head” is not defined in the
Rules. However, the expression “Chief Executive Officer” is defined
in Rule 2(1)(c) as follows:­
“Chief   Executive   Officer”   means   the   Secretary,   Trustee,
Correspondent or a person by whatever name called who is
empowered   to   execute   the   decisions   taken   by   the
Management.”
9. The word “Head” is defined in Section 2(9) of the Maharashtra
Employees of Private Schools (Conditions of Service) Regulation Act,
1977 as follows:­
“Head of a school” or “Head” means the person, by whatever
name called in charge of the academic and administrative
duties   and   functions   of   a   school   conducted   by   any
Management   and   recognised   or   deemed   to   be   recognised
under   this   Act,   and   includes   a   principal,   vice   principal,
head­master,   head­mistress,   assistant   head­master,
assistant head­mistress or superintendent thereof”
10. Sub­rule (2) of Rule 36 provides for the composition of the
Inquiry   Committee   in   a   particular   manner   in   the   case   of   “an
employee”   and   it   provides   for   the   composition   of   the   Inquiry
Committee in a different manner in the case of “the Head”. In other
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words,   the   Inquiry   Committee   can   comprise   of  (i)  one   member
amongst   the   members   of   the   Management,   nominated   by   the
management or the President;  (ii)  one member nominated by the
employee   from   amongst   the   employees;   and  (iii)  one   member
chosen by the Chief Executive Officer from the panel of teachers, if
the inquiry is against “an employee”. But if the inquiry is against
the   Head,   the   Inquiry   Committee   should   comprise   of:  (i)  the
President of the Management; (ii) one member to be nominated by
the Head from amongst the employees of any private schools; and
(iii)  one member chosen by the President from the panel of Head
Masters.
11. In the case on hand, there is and there can be no dispute
about the fact that the first respondent was the Head within the
meaning of the expression in terms of Section 2(9) of the Act, as he
was   the   Principal   of   the   Institute.   But   admittedly   the   first
respondent was not the Secretary, Trustee or Correspondent of the
Institute,   to   fall   within   the   definition   of   the   expression   “Chief
Executive Officer” under Rule 2(1)(c) of the Rules.
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12. The   main   contention   of   the   first   respondent   which   was
accepted by the School Tribunal and the High Court was that by
virtue   of   Rule   36(2)(b)   of   the   Rules,   the   President   of   the
Management should have been one of the members of the Inquiry
Committee. There is no dispute about the fact that the President of
the appellant­Society was not a member of the Inquiry Committee.
But this fact provides only one part of the story.
13. The other part of the story is that the Departmental Inquiry
Committee   as   originally   constituted,   had   the   President   of   the
appellant­Society as a Member. But the case of the management is
that   by   a   letter   dated   13.06.2004,   the   President   requested   the
appellant­Society to relieve him due to ill health. Therefore, by a
letter dated 14.06.2004 one of the Vice­Presidents was requested to
be part of the Inquiry Committee. But the said Vice­ President also
recused   due   to   family   problems.   Therefore,   by   a   letter   dated
16.06.2004 another Vice­President was nominated to be part of the
Inquiry   Committee.   The   said   Vice­President   also   opted   out.
Therefore,   by   a   Resolution   dated   22.06.2004,   the   Management
decided   to   confer   all   the   powers   of   the   President   to   one   Shri
9
Amarsingh   Shivaji   Rao   Pandit.   The   said   resolution   reads   as
follows:­
“Resolution no. 4:­ The President Mr. Shivajirao Ankushrao
Pandit   is   the   president   and   inviter   of   the   Departmental
Enquiry   Committee   for   inquiry   of   Mr.   Kalkotwar   R.   S.
(Suspended   Principal).   Therefore,   he   is   president   of   the
enquiry   committee   for   Departmental   enquiry   of   Mr.
Kalkotwar,   but   Mr.   Shivajirao   Ankushrao   Pandit   by   his
application due to ill health and as per advice of doctors
have intimation to take rest. His application and documents
annexed   thereto   have   been   considered   and   his   excuse
appears   reasonable.   Therefore,   all   the   powers   of   the
president of Jaibhawani Shikshan Prasarak regarding the
work   to   conduct   the   Enquiry   id   hereby   given   to   Mr.
Amarsingh Shivajirao Pandit. Therefore, it was unanimously
decided by all that, henceforth, Mr. Amarsingh Shivajirao
Pandit   will   see   the   work   as   president   and   inviter   of   the
departmental enquiry committee conducting inquiry of Mr.
Kalkotwar R.S.”
14. But the School Tribunal held that the aforesaid Resolution
dated   22.06.2004   surfaced   only   after   the   conclusion   of   the
arguments in the appeal and that, therefore, it could have been
prepared as an afterthought. The learned Single Judge of the High
Court refused to interfere with this finding of fact, on the ground
that   the   supervisory   jurisdiction   of   the   High   Court   was   limited
under Article 227 of the Constitution.
15. But the School Tribunal as well as the High Court omitted to
take note of the very pleadings of the first respondent in his appeal
10
before the Tribunal. In paragraph 7 of the Memorandum of Appeal
submitted by the first respondent before the School Tribunal, he
admitted  that  the  charge­sheet  was   signed  by  Shri   Shivaji   Rao
Pandit,   the   President   of   the   Society.   In   paragraph   9   of   the
Memorandum of Appeal, the respondent No.1 also admitted that by
a letter dated 26.06.2004 he was informed about the ill health of
the President of the Society and the appointment of Shri Amarsingh
Shivaji   Rao   Pandit   in   his   place.   Paragraphs   9   and   10   of   the
Memorandum of Appeal filed by the first respondent herein, before
the School Tribunal reads as follows:­
“The   appellant   states   that   when   the   inquiry   was   under
progress, the Administrative officer of the Respondent No. 1
Society,   vide   his   letter   dated   26.6.2004,   informed   the
appellant that since the President of the Society was ill, his
representative Shri. Amarsing Shivajirao Pandit, who is the
Member   of   the   Respondent   No.   1   Society,   shall   be   the
Convenor of the Inquiry Committee. A copy of this letter
dated 26.6.2004 issued by the Administrative officer of the
Respondent No.1 Society is annexed herewith and marked as
EXHIBIT “G”. 
The   appellant   further   states   that   vide   letter   dated
30.6.2004, the Administrative Officer of the Respondent No.
1 Society has issued a Corrigendum whereby it was informed
that Shri Amarsinh Pandit would act as the Convenor of the
Inquiry Committee and the President during the course of
the   Inquiry.   A   copy   of   the   said   Corrigendum   dated
30.6.2004,   issued   by   the   Administrative   Officer   of   the
11
Respondent   No.   1   is   annexed   herewith   and   marked   as
EXHIBIT “H”.”
16. Unfortunately the School Tribunal as well as the High Court
failed to take note of the very pleadings of the first respondent with
regard to the circumstances in which the President of the Society
could not continue as part of the Inquiry Committee. Therefore, the
order of the School Tribunal was vitiated by perversity.
17. In any case, Rule 36(2)(a) begins with the words “in the case of
an employee”. Rule 36(2)(b) begins with the words “in the case of the
Head referred to in sub­rule (1)”.
18. The interpretation given by the School Tribunal and the High
Court to the aforesaid Rule would have been acceptable, if Rule
36(2)(b) had began only with the words “in the case of the Head”.
But it begins with the words “in the case of the Head referred to in
sub­rule (1)”.
19. Sub­rule (1) refers to the Head who is also the Chief Executive
Officer. Therefore, clause (b) of sub­rule (2) of Rule 36 should be
construed to apply only to a person who is the “Head” and who is
12
also the “Chief Executive Officer”. Otherwise the words “referred in
sub­rule (1)” appearing in clause (b) would become redundant.
20. The Division Bench of the High Court relied upon the full
Bench decision of the High Court in National Education Society
(supra), to come to the conclusion that irrespective of whether the
Head of the Institute is also the Chief Executive Officer or not, Rule
36(2)(b) mandates the President to be a member of the Inquiry
Committee. A perusal of the Judgment of the Full Bench of the High
Court of Bombay in  National  Education  Society  (supra) shows
that   the   full   Bench   framed   two   questions   for   its  consideration.
Question No.2 framed by the Full Bench reads as follows:­
“Whether   the   President   of   the   management   has   to   be   a
member of the Enquiry Committee as specified in Rule 36(2)
(b)(i)   for   holding   disciplinary   enquiry   against   the   Head,
whether or not he is the Chief Executive Officer within the
meaning of Rule 2(c) of the Rules of 1981.”
21. The above question was taken up for consideration by the full
Bench in Paragraph 17 of its decision. In paragraphs 18 and 19, the
full Bench held as under:­
“18. Rule 36(1)(a) of the Rules provides for constitution of
Inquiry   Committee   in   respect   of   an   employee   while   Rule
36(2)(b) provides for constitution of Inquiry Committee for
the Head. We have already quoted the definition of “Head” in
13
terms of Section 2(9) of the Act. If it is held that there is no
requirement for the President of the management to be a
member of the Inquiry Committee in case of the Head who is
not the Chief Executive Officer, providing separate Inquiry
Committee for the Head in Rule 36(2)(b) would be nugatory.
In case such an interpretation is accepted Head of the school
would be an employee for the purposes of Rule 36(2)(a) and
there was no need to have separate constitution of Inquiry
Committee in terms of Section 36(2)(b). It is well settled that
the   Legislature   does   not   use   any   word   unnecessarily.   It
would be appropriate to quote paragraph 9 of the judgment
of the Apex Court in Utkal Contractors & Joinery Pvt. Ltd. v.
State   of   Orissa   reported   in   MANU/SC/0077/1987   :
[1987]3SCR317.   In   para   9,   the   Apex   Court   observed   as
under:
…Just as Parliament  is not  expected to
use unnecessary expressions, Parliament is also
not   expected   to   express   itself   unnecessarily.
Even   as   Parliament   does   not   use   any   word
without   meaning   something,   Parliament   does
not legislate where no legislation is called for.
Parliament cannot be assumed to legislate for
the sake of legislation; nor can it be assumed to
make pointless legislation. Parliament does not
indulge in legislation merely to state what it is
unnecessary to state or to do what is already
validly done. Parliament may not be assumed to
legislate unnecessarily….
19. We, therefore, hold that in case of Head whether or not
he   is   empowered   to   act   as   Chief   Executive   Officer,   the
President   of   the   management   shall   be   a   member   of   the
Inquiry Committee as contemplated by Rule 36(2)(b)(i) of the
Rules of 1981.”
22. As could be seen from the portion of the Judgment extracted
above, the full Bench was unduly carried away by the fact that the
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Head of an Institution will become equated to an employee, if it was
held that the President of the Society need not be a member of the
Inquiry Committee. But what the Full Bench omitted to take note of
was   that   the   Chief   Executive   Officer   of   a   Society,   such   as   the
President, Secretary or Treasurer cannot be an employee of the
Institution run by the Society and that a Chief Executive Officer
such as the President or Secretary is liable to get elected and not
entitled   to   remuneration.   On   the   other   hand,   the   Head   of   the
Institution   is   essentially   an   employee   who   is   entitled   to
remuneration, seniority, promotion, continuance in service till the
age of superannuation etc., and who is subject to the disciplinary
control of the Management. In fact the President or Secretary of the
Society cannot be removed under the MEPS Rules. But the Head of
the   Institution   can   be   removed   only   in   terms   of   the   Rules.
Therefore, the interpretation given by the Full Bench of the High
Court of Bombay in  National  Education  Society  (supra), under
Rule 36(2)(b) may not be correct.
23. In any case, the High Court, in the impugned order, failed to
take the note of doctrine of necessity. Once it is admitted, (i) that
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the disciplinary proceedings commenced with an Inquiry Committee
of which the President was a member; and (ii) that subsequently he
was replaced by someone due to ill health, the doctrine of necessity
would come into play. Hence the impugned orders of the High Court
and the School Tribunal are liable to be reversed. Since the School
Tribunal   rejected   all   other   contentions   of   respondent   No.1,   but
upheld   only   the   contention   revolving   around   Rule   36(2)(b),   the
penalty of removal from service imposed upon the first respondent
is liable to be upheld. However, if by virtue of any interim order
passed by any forum, the respondent No.1 has been granted any
monetary benefit, the same shall not be recovered from him. The
appeal is accordingly allowed on the above terms and there shall be
no order as to costs.  
……………………………….J.
(HEMANT GUPTA)
………………………………..J.
(V. RAMASUBRAMANIAN)
New Delhi
March 29, 2022
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