ST. MARY’S EDUCATION SOCIETY & ANR VERSUS RAJENDRA PRASAD BHARGAVA & ORS.

ST. MARY’S EDUCATION SOCIETY & ANR VERSUS RAJENDRA PRASAD BHARGAVA & ORS.

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले



REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5789 OF 2022
(Arising out of S.L.P. (Civil) No. 1118 of 2022)
ST. MARY’S EDUCATION SOCIETY & ANR.  ……APPELLANTS 
VERSUS
RAJENDRA PRASAD BHARGAVA & ORS.    ......RESPONDENTS
J U D G M E N T
J.B. PARDIWALA, J.   :
1. Leave granted.
2. This   appeal   is   at   the   instance   of   a   private   unaided
minority educational institution and its disciplinary committee,
(respondents before the High  Court) and is directed against the
judgment and order dated 15.12.2021 passed by a Division
Bench of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Bench Indore in
the Writ Appeal No. 485 of 2017 by which the Division Bench
set aside the judgment and order passed by a learned single
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Judge of the High Court and held that a writ petition filed by an
employee of a private unaided minority educational institution
seeking   to   challenge   his   termination   from   service   is
maintainable in law. 
3. In   the   present   appeal,   two   pivotal   issues   fall   for
consideration of this Court:­
(a) Whether a writ petition under Article 226 of the
Constitution of India is maintainable against a private
unaided minority institution?
(b) Whether a service dispute in the private realm
involving   a   private   educational   institution   and   its
employee can be adjudicated in a writ petition filed
under   Article   226   of   the   Constitution?  
In other words, even if a body performing public duty is
amenable   to   writ   jurisdiction,   are   all   its   decisions
subject to judicial review or only those decisions which
have public element therein can be judicially reviewed
under the writ jurisdiction?
4.  The   aforesaid   two   questions,   though   not   vexed,
nevertheless despite plethora of case laws, always give rise to a
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debate.
FACTUAL MATRIX
5. The   appellant   No.   1­Society   runs   a   private   unaided
educational institution. The appellant No. 2 is the disciplinary
committee constituted by the appellant No. 1­Society for the
purpose   of   its   internal   management.   The   respondent   No.   1
herein (original writ applicant before the learned single Judge)
was serving as an office employee of the appellant No. 1. It
appears from the materials on record that a show cause noticecum­suspension   order   dated   08.09.2014   was   issued   by   the
appellant No. 1 herein to the respondent No.1 for the various
alleged misconduct in service. The respondent No. 1 herein was
thereafter issued a departmental chargesheet dated 08.12.2014
essentially on six grounds. 
6.  The statement of charges and allegations as contained in
the chargesheet dated 08.12.2014 are as under:­
“Charge IThat, you refused to receive and deposit the PTA fund
from the lady teachers of the school on 4th August, 2014
and misbehaved with them. You talked to them rudely,
loudly and your language was improper. Your refusal to
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receive   and   deposit   the   amount   during   the   working
hours is a gross misconduct and dereliction of your duty
and act subversive of discipline. 
Charge­IIThat, you are in habit of writing unwarranted letters to
different authorities against the Principal of the school
using   very   disrespectful,   derogatory   and   offensive
language, making false accusation which is spoiling the
image and reputation of this school.  
Charge­IIIThat,   you   have   threatened   and   pressurized   the
institution by closing your Bank Account in which your
monthly   salary   was   being   deposited   for   the   last   so
many years.   You also actually refused to accept and
receive your monthly salary for the month of August,
2014, which was offered to you by cheque personally on
01.09.2014. In the following month the salary from 1st to
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th September and 9th to 30th September as Subsistence
Allowance   was   also   offered   to   you   by   cheque   on
01.10.2014 which you refused to accept again, saying
that­ “I will take the subsistence allowance but until and
unless I get justice …” (Letter dated 10.10.2014).
Your refusal to accept the salary shows that you
do not wish to continue the relationship of employer –
employee   with   the   school   because   the   school   cannot
take your service without paying your salary.
Charge­IVThat earlier also your rude behavior with the Principal of
the school was noticed for which you were warned and
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advised   to   improve   your   behavior   and   talk   politely.
However, no improvement has been shown by you in
your   behavior.     You   have   misbehaved   with   the   two
earlier Principals also namely: (1) Sr. Lalita (Letter dated
17.04.2009) and (2) Sr. Flavia.  
Charge­VThat, you were threatening the institution by writing to
the President of our country that if something happens to
you physically or mentally on work due to such behavior
at home the sole responsibility of it would be on the
School   Management,   the   Principal   and   the   various
authorities.  This behaviour has compelled the school to
complain to the police regarding your threat.
Charge­VIThat, you are in the habit of taking leaves at will and
insisting   on   taking   leave   at   your   sole   convenience,
sometimes without any sanction also.”
After   conclusion   of   the   departmental   enquiry,   the
services of the respondent No. 1 came to be terminated vide
order dated 08.05.2015.
7. The   respondent   No.   1   herein   challenged   the   order   of
termination   on   various   grounds   in   appeal   before   the
Disciplinary Committee of the appellant No. 1. The appeal was
filed by the respondent No. 1 herein under Rule 49 of the CBSE
Affiliation Byelaws. The Disciplinary Committee consisted of (i)
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Sr. M. Deepa, Chairman, (ii) Sr. M. Georgina, School Manager,
(iii)   S.N.   Purwar,   Advisor   CBSE   Nominee,   and   (iv)   Sadhna
Paranjape, School Managing Committee Member. The appeal
was ordered to be dismissed by the Disciplinary Committee, the
appellant No. 2 herein, vide order dated 23.09.2016.
8.  In view of the aforesaid, the respondent No. 1 invoked the
writ jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the
Constitution of India.  In the writ petition, the respondent No. 1
arrayed the following five respondents:­
1. Union of India
2.    Central Board of Secondary Education
3.   St. Mary’s Education Society
4.   Disciplinary Committee of the School 
5.   Mr.   T.R.   Lapalikar   (retired   Deputy   Labour
Commissioner appointed as Enquiry Officer)
9.   It   is   pertinent   to   note   that   despite   the   above   five
respondents being arrayed as aforestated, the principal relief
sought in the writ petition filed by the respondent No. 1 herein
was to set aside the order dated 23.09.2016 passed by the
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Disciplinary Committee of the school and to set aside the order
of termination dated 08.05.2015 passed by the appellant No. 1
herein. In other words, the respondent No.1 herein sought writ
in   the   nature   of   certiorari   to   be   issued   against   the   private
unaided minority institution. It may not be out of place to state
at this stage that no relief was sought against the Union of
India,   respondent   No.   2   herein   and   the   Central   Board   of
Secondary Education (CBSE), respondent No. 3 herein. 
10.  The   appellants   herein   raised   a   preliminary   objection
before   the   learned   single   Judge   of   the   High   Court   on   the
maintainability of the writ petition filed by an employee of a
private unaided minority institution. 
11. The learned single Judge of the High Court upheld the
preliminary   objection   raised   by   the   appellants   herein   and
rejected the writ application as not being maintainable. While
rejecting the writ application vide order dated 10.07.2017 on
the ground of not being maintainable in law, the learned single
Judge held as under:­
“So   far   as   the   judgment   in   the   matter   of   K.
Krishnamacharyulu (supra) relied upon by the petitioner
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is concerned, in that case in respect of teachers duly
appointed to a post in the private institution, it has been
held by the Supreme Court that when an element of
public interest is created and institution is catering to
that element, the teacher, the arm of the institution is
also entitled to avail of remedy provided under Article
226. In the present case, petitioner is not a teacher but
is a member of clerical staff being L.D.C., hence he is not
entitled to the benefit of that judgment.
So far as the judgment in the matter of Frank Anthony
Public   School   Employees   Association(supra)   is
concerned,  that  was  a   case  where  the  teachers  had
approached   the   court   for   writ   of   mandamus   seeking
equalisation of their pay scales and condition of service
with those of their counterparts in government schools
and   in   that   context   it   was   observed   that   'the
management of a minority Educational institution cannot
be permitted under the guise of the fundamental right
guaranteed   by   Article   30(1)   of   the   Constitution,   to
oppress   or   exploit   its   employees   any   more   than   any
other private employee, therefore the said judgment is
distinguishable on its own facts.
Similarly the benefit of Single Bench judgment of this
court in the matter of Mrs. Kirti Bugde (supra) cannot be
granted to the petitioner because in that judgment the
petitioner was a teacher and a member of the academic
staff but that is not so in the present case. 
Having regard to the aforesaid, I am of the opinion that
writ petition filed by the petitioner for issuance of writ of
certiorari against the action of respondent No.3 which is
a private unaided institution is not maintainable under
Article   226   of   the   Constitution   of   India,   which   is
accordingly   dismissed,   however   with   a   liberty   to   the
petitioner to avail such other remedies as are available
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in the law.”
12.  Being aggrieved with the aforesaid judgment and order
passed  by  the  learned  single Judge  of  the  High  Court, the
respondent No. 1 herein went in appeal under Section 2(1) of
the   M.P.   Uchcha   Nyayalaya   (Khand   Nyayapeeth   Ko   Appeal)
Adhiniyam,   2005.     The   Division   Bench   of   the   High   Court
thought fit to set aside the judgment and order passed by the
learned single Judge and allowed the appeal holding that the
writ application filed by the respondent No.1 herein against the
appellants   herein   challenging   the   order   of   termination   from
service was maintainable under Article 226 of the Constitution.
The appeal Court remitted the matter to the learned single
Judge for being considered on its own merits. The Division
Bench, while allowing the appeal filed by the respondent No. 1
herein, held as under:­
“11. Since all the aforesaid previous judgments have
been considered, the judgment of Marwari (supra) is a
binding   precedent.   The   present   appellant   was
terminated from a private institution. In Marwari (supra)
and Ramesh Ahluwalia (supra) also the termination of
Teacher/Officer was called in question in a writ petition.
As per this judgment, the writ petition is maintainable. A
division bench of this Court in Yogendra Singh Dhakad
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Vs. Delhi Public School Society & Ors. 2014 SCC OnLine
MP 162 has also taken the same view. So far as the
judgment of Supreme Court in Executive Committee of
Vaish   Degree   College,   Shamli   &   Ors.   Vs.   Lakshmi
Narain & Ors. (1976) 2 SCC 58 is concerned, it is not
applicable to the present case as it did not arise out of a
writ petition.
12. Considering the aforesaid, order of learned Single
Judge dated 10.07.2017 passed in WP No.1052/2017
is set aside. The writ petition is restored to its original
number. We have no doubt that writ court shall make
every   endeavor   to   decide   the   petition   expeditiously
preferably within two months.
13. The writ appeal is allowed to the extent indicated
above.”
13. It   appears   from   the   aforesaid   that   the   appeal   court
heavily relied upon the decision of this Court rendered in the
case of  Marwari  Balika  Vidhyalaya   v.   Asha  Shrivastaga,
reported in (2020) 14 SCC 449, which, in turn, has relied upon
its decision in the case of  Ramesh   Ahluwalia   v.   State   of
Punjab, reported in (2012) 12 SCC 331. 
14.  In view of the aforesaid, the appellants are before this
Court with the present appeal.
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LEGAL STATUS OF THE APPELLANT NO. 1 ­ SOCIETY
15.   The appellant No. 1 is a Society registered under the
Madhya Pradesh Society Registrikaran Adhiniyam, 1973. The
Society   runs   an   all­girls   school   in   Mhow,   Indore,   Madhya
Pradesh,  by  the   name  St.   Mary’s  Higher  Secondary  School,
which was founded by a group of French Catholic Nuns in
1893. The school is a private unaided minority educational institution, which enjoys the protection guaranteed under Article
30(1) of the Constitution. There is absolutely no Governmental
control over the functioning and administration of the school.
The respondent No. 1 herein was employed in this school prior
to his termination. The school is presently affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and is thus governed
by its Rules and Byelaws. Further, the Society has its own
Byelaws, namely, (1) the Service Conditions for the Employees
of St. Mary’s School and (2) Service Rules for Teaching and
Non­Teaching Staff. The appellant No. 1­Society and the school
are absolutely private institutions, without any aid or control of
the Government or any instrumentality of the Government, and
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therefore, not a “State” within the meaning of Article 12 of the
Constitution.
16. CBSE­i AFFILIATION BYELAWS
Chapter­ I
1. Short Title and Definitions:
1. These   Byelaws   shall   be   called   Central   Board   of
Secondary Education – International Affiliation Byelaws.
2. They   are   effective   from   April,   1,   2010   with
modifications / amendments from time to time.
3. In case of any dispute(s) regarding the withdrawal of
not   granting   affiliation   or   any   other   matter   pertaining   to
upgradation   and   /or   any   matter   arising   in   respect   of
anything pertaining to affiliation with any school and / or
any other person, society, company or organization  , the
courts and tribunals at Delhi only shall have the exclusive
jurisdiction to entertain such disputes.
2. Definitions:
(i) “Affiliation”   means   formal   enrolment   of   a   school
among the list of approved schools of the Board following
prescribed / approved courses of studies up to class VIII as
well as  those   preparing  students   according  to  prescribed
courses   for   the   Board’s   International   Curriculum
examinations.
x x x  x
(xxxxii)  “School” means any recognized school imparting
elementary / middle / secondary /senior secondary level
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education and includes:
(i) a school established, owned or controlled by the 
appropriate Government or a local authority;
(ii) an aided school receiving aid or grants to meet whole 
or part of its expenses from the appropriate Government or 
the local authority;
(iii) a school belonging to specified category; and
(iv) an unaided school not receiving any kind of aid or 
grants to meet its expenses from the appropriate Government
or the local authority.
Chapter­6
23. Powers and functions of the School Managing 
Committee:
(xi) It   shall   exercise   powers   to   take   disciplinary   action
against staff.
25. Head of the School – Duties, Powers and 
Responsibilities:
(xii) Supervise, guide and control the work of the teaching
and non­ teaching staff of the school.
Chapter ­7
Service Rules for Employees:
26. Short Title:
(1) Each school affiliated/ to be affiliated with the Board
shall frame Service Rules for its employees which will be as
per Education Act of the State/ Union Territory, if the Act
makes adoption of the same obligatory, otherwise as per
Service Rules given in subsequent sections.
(2) Service Contract will be entered with each employee
as per the provision in the Education Act of the State / Union
Territory or as given in Appendix III, if not obligatory as per
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the State Education Act / Act applicable in the country in
which the school is situated.
27. Appointments:
(1) All appointments to all categories of employees except
Group ‘D’ employees (multitasking staff/ housekeeping) as
per relevant country /Government of India gradation shall be
made by Managing Committee either by direct recruitment or
by promotion through a Selection Committee constituted by
the   School   Society   /   Trust   /   Company   Registered   under
Section   25   of   the   Companies   Act,   1956   or   under   the
appropriate Acts of relevant country and in accordance with
and upon such conditions as the Managing committee may
decide, which shall be consistent with norms of the Board /
Government   if   statutory   provision   exists.   Appointment   of
Group ‘D’ employees will be made by the Principal through
constituted Selection Committee.
(2) The Selection Committee shall include
a) In the case of recruitment of the Head of the School:
(i) the President of the Society;
(ii) the Chairman of the Managing Committee;
(iii) an   educationist,   nominated   by   the   managing
committee;
(iv) a   person   having   experience   of   administration   of
schools, nominated by the Managing Committee; and
(v) an academic officer or representative of the Board.
b) In the case of recruitment of teachers and librarian:
(i) the Chairman of the managing committee;
(ii) Head of the School;
(iii) an   educationist,   nominated   by   the   managing
committee; and 
(iv) a subject expert
c) In the case of recruitment of clerical staff / Laboratory
Assistant:
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(i) The   Chairman   of   the   managing   committee   or   any
member   of   the   managing   committee   nominated   by   the
Chairman.
(ii) Head of the school;
(iii) Manager/ Correspondent of the School
d) In case of recruitment of class IV staff / multitasking
staff/ housekeeping staff:
(i) Head of the school;
(ii) A nominee of School Managing Committee.
(3) The   Selection   Committee   shall   regulate   its   own
procedure   and   in   the   case   of   any   difference   of   opinion
amongst the members of the Selection Committee on any
matter, it shall be decided by the trust / society running the
school or Board.
(4) The appointment letters of every employee of a school
shall be issued by its managing committee.
(5) Where any selection made by the Selection Committee
is not acceptable to the managing committee of the school,
the   managing   committee   shall  record   its   reason   for  such
nonacceptance and refer the matter to Board and the trust or
society   or   Company   registered   under   Section   25   of   the
Companies   Act,   1956   or   under   the   appropriate   Acts   of
relevant country running the school and the trust or society,
as the case may be, shall decide the same.
(6) Employees   shall   be   appointed   subject   to   the
provisions of this agreement and they shall have to comply
with all the requirements of the provisions contained herein.
44. Code of Conduct:
Byelaw number 44 of the Chapter­7 prescribes that every
employee   shall   be   covered   by   the   code   of   conduct.   It
prescribes the acts that constitute breach of code of conduct,
the acts which shall not be deemed as a breach is a code of
conduct.
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46. Disciplinary Procedure:
Suspension
1. The   School   Managing   Committee   may   place   an
employee under suspension where:
a. The   disciplinary   proceedings   against   her   are
contemplated or pending.
Or
b. A case against her in respect of any criminal offence is
under investigation or trial;
Or
c. She is charged with embezzlement;
Or
d. She is charged with cruelty / physical punishment or
mental harassment towards any student or any employee of
the school.
Or
e. She is charged with misbehavior towards any parent,
guardian student or employee of the school;
Or
f. She is charged with a breach of any other Code of
Conduct.
49. Procedure for Imposing Major Penalty:
1. No   order   imposing   on   any   employee   any   major
penalty shall be made except after an inquiry is held as far
as may be, in the manner specified below:
a) The disciplinary authority shall frame definite charges
on   the   basis   of   the   allegation   on   which   the   inquiry   is
proposed to be held and a copy of the charges together with
the statement of the allegations on which they are based
shall be furnished to employee and she shall be required to
submit   within   such   time   as   may   be   specified   by   the
disciplinary   authority   but   not   later   than   two   weeks,   a
written statement of her defence and also to state whether
she desires to be heard in person;
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b) On   receipt   of   the   written   statement   of   defence,   or
where no such statement is received within the specified
time, the disciplinary authority may itself make inquiry in to
such of the charges as are not admitted or if it considers it
necessary   to   do   so,   appoint   and   inquiry   officer   for   the
purpose;
c) At the conclusion of the enquiry the enquiry officer
shall prepare a report of the enquiry recording her findings
on each of the charges together with the reasons thereof;
d) The disciplinary authority shall consider the report of
the enquiry and record its findings on each charge and if the
disciplinary authority is of opinion that any of the major
penalties should be imposed it shall:
(i)   furnish to the employee a copy of the report of the
enquiry officer, where an enquiry has been made by such
officers;
(ii)  give her notice in writing stating the action proposed
to be taken in regard to her and calling upon her to submit
within the specified time, not exceeding two weeks, such
representation   as   she   may   wish   to   make   against   the
proposed action;
(iii)  on receipt of the representation if any, made by the
employee, the disciplinary authority shall determine what
penalty, if   any  should   be   imposed  on  the  employee   and
communicate its tentative decision to impose the penalty to
the Committee for its prior approval;
(iv)   after   considering   the   representation,   made   by   the
employee   against   the   penalty,   the   disciplinary   authority
shall record its findings as to the penalty, which it proposes
to   impose   on   the   employee   and   send   its   findings   and
decision to the Committee for its approval and while doing so
the disciplinary authority shall furnish to the employee all
relevant   records   of   the   case   including   the   statement   of
allegations,   charges   framed   against   the   employee,
representation made by the employee, a copy of the enquiry
report, where such enquiry was made and the proceedings
of the disciplinary authority.
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2. No   order   with   regard   to   the   imposition   of   a
major   penalty   shall   be   made   by   the   disciplinary
authority  except  after  the   receipt  of  the  approval  of
the Committee.
51. Disciplinary Committee:
1. In case the employee wishes to appeal against the
order   of   the   Disciplinary   authority,   the   appeal   shall   be
referred   to   a   Disciplinary   Committee.   The   Disciplinary
Committee shall consist of the following:
a) The Chairman of the School Managing committee or in
her absence any member of the Committee, nominated by
her.
b) The Manager of the School, and where the disciplinary
proceeding is against her any other person of the Committee
nominated by the Chairman.
c) A nominee of the Board appropriate authority, She
shall act as an adviser.
d) The Head of the School, except where the disciplinary
proceedings is against her, the Head of any other school
nominated by the CBSE or Director of Education in case the
Act so provides.
e) One teacher who is a member of School Managing
Committee of the school nominated by the Chairman of the
Committee.
2. The Disciplinary Committee shall  carefully examine the
findings of the enquiry officer reasons for imposing penalty
recorded   by   the   Disciplinary   Authority   and   the
representation by the employee and pass orders as it may
deem fit.
Appendix–IV  attached to the Byelaws is with respect to the
minority   educational   institutions.   Clause   6   of   Appendix­IV
18
reads thus:­
“6.   Disciplinary   Control   over   Staff   in   Minority
Educational   Institutions:  While   the   managements
should   exercise   the   disciplinary   control   over   staff,   it
must be ensured that they hold an inquiry and follow a
fair procedure before punishment is given. With a view
to   preventing   the   possible   misuse   of   power   by   the
management of the Minority Educational Institutions, the
State   has   the   regulatory   power   to   safeguard   the
interests of their employees and their service conditions
including procedure for punishment to be imposed.”
(Emphasis supplied)
SUBMISSIONS ON BEHALF OT THE APPELLANTS
17. Mr.   Pai   Amit,   the   learned   counsel   appearing   for   the
appellants, vehemently submitted that the Division Bench of
the   High   Court   committed   a   serious   error   in   passing   the
impugned   judgment   and   order.     He   would  submit   that   the
learned single Judge of the High Court rightly took the view
that   the   writ   petition   filed   by   the   respondent   No.1   herein
seeking to challenge the order of termination passed by the
appellant No. 1 herein could not be said to be maintainable in
law. He would submit that the Division Bench of the High Court
in an intra­court appeal ought not to have taken the view that
19
the writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution at the
instance   of   the   respondent   No.   1   herein   was   maintainable
before the learned single Judge.
18. Mr. Pai would submit that the Division Bench of the High
Court mis­directed itself by relying upon the two decisions of
this Court rendered in the cases of Ramesh Ahluwalia (supra)
and Marwari Balika Vidhyalaya (supra). 
19. Mr. Pai laid much stress on the following three aspects of
the matter:­
(a) Indisputably, the appellant No. 1 is a
private   unaided   minority   educational
institution;
(b) The   dispute   between   the   appellants
and the respondent No. 1 herein is purely
contractual in nature and does not involve
any public law element, and
(c) The   respondent   No.1   herein   has
sought relief only against the two orders of
termination and both of which have been
passed   by   the   appellant   No.   1   in   its
20
capacity as a private body. 
20.  In such circumstance referred to above, Mr. Pai prays
that there being merit in his appeal, the same may be allowed
and the impugned order passed by the Division Bench of the
High Court may be set aside.
SUBMISSIONS ON BEHALF OF THE RESPONDENT NO. 1
21.  The   respondent   No.   1   herein   appeared   virtually   inperson. He relied upon the written submissions furnished by
him   to   this   Court.   In   his   written   submissions   dated
10.08.2022, he has mainly stated as under:­
“That the respondent no. 1 (Rajendra Prasad Bhargava)
is filing this Written Notes as per this Hon’ble Court’s
Order Dated:08.08.2022 seeking that the judgment and
final order dated: 15.12.2021 of the Hon’ble High Court
of Madhya Pradesh, Bench at Indore in Writ Appeal No.
485/2017 kindly be upheld whereby the writ petition of
Respondent No. 1 was maintainable.
That the Respondent No. 1 was working in St. Mary’s
Hr.   Sec.   School,   Mhow   (M.P.)   run   by   the   appellant
namely St. Mary’s Education Society, serving as a LDC
since   July   1,   1987.   That,   the   respondent   no.   1   has
performed   his   duty   honestly,   diligently,   allegiance
(loyalty) and  with hard  work during his  27  years  of
service and there is no adverse remark in his Service
Book and Annual Confidential Roll. That, as far as the
respondent no. 1 has knowledge and information, on the
21
basis of that the respondent no. 1 humbly prays to this
Court that:
I) Mandamus is  a very wide  remedy which  must be
available   to   reach   injustice   wherever   it   is   found.
Technicalities should not come in the way of granting
that relief under Article 226.
“A word is said to be mandatory as well as defining in
nature when the word MUST is used in meaning of that
word.”
As the word “MUST” is used in the aforesaid statement
about   the   mandamus   by   this   Hon’ble   Court,   the
mandamus becomes mandatory as well as defining in
nature. Hence it is proved that mandamus is a very
wide remedy which must be easily available to reach
injustice wherever it is found. Technicalities should not
come in the way of granting that relief under Article 226.
I   (Respondent   No.   1),   therefore,   humbly   pray   to   this
Hon’ble Supreme Court that kindly reject the contention
urged by the appellant on the maintainability of the writ
petition and to kindly upheld the Impugned judgment
and final order dated: 15.12.2021 rightly and legally
held  by the  Hon’ble  High  Court  of Madhya  Pradesh,
Bench at Indore in Writ Appeal No. 485 of 2017.
1. Kindly read page No. 2 and 3 of Reply to the SLP.
OR
Kindly read page No. 76 and 77 of Reply to the SLP
(Annexure   R­2   Ramesh   Ahluwalia   case   reported   in
(2012) 12 SCC 331).
2. Kindly read Para 20 on page No. 89, Para 21 on
page No. 89­90 and Para 22 on page No. 90 of Reply to
the   SLP   (Annexure   R­3   Andi   Mukta   case   reported   in
22
1989 AIR 1607) (1989) 2 SCC 691
3. Kindly read page No. 6 and 7 of Reply to the SLP.
OR
Kindly read Para 15 on page No. 97, 98 and 99 of Reply
to   the   SLP   (Annexure   R­4   Marwari   Balika   Vidhyalya
Case reported in (2020) 14 SCC 449.
4. Kindly   read   page   No.   49   of   SLP   (Annexure   P­5
Yogendra Singh Dhakad versus Delhi Public School
Society, 2014 SCC Online MP 162: AIR 2014 (NOC
580) 211.”
22.  In his written submissions, the respondent No. 1 has
also   requested   this   Court   to   consider   the   following   social
circumstances:­
“i) That, my youngest son Ashwin Bhargava is suffering
from Cancer of Nasopharanx (Rare type of Head and
Nose Cancer) and I’m facing severe financial difficulties
in his medical treatment.
ii)  That, my wife Smt. Sunita Bhargava, 53 years has
been   operated   upon   for   Carnio   Vertebral   Junction
Anamoly on 25.12.2021. She has been discharged on
02.01.2022 and still completely on bed. Her medication
is   still   going   on   through   physiotherapy   and   regular
follow   up   for   future   periodic   evaluation.   For   her
operation I’ve taken a loan of Rupees 350000/­ from a
friend which has put more financial burden on me. I’ve
to attend her throughout the day and night as well.
iii)  That, apart  from  this, I’m suffering  from Cataract
Disease in left eye.
iv) That, I’m also suffering from Knee Pain problem in the
23
right leg.”
23.  He has prayed for the following reliefs:­
“Humble Prayer to this Court in the interest of Justice:
1. That, I (Respondent No. 1), therefore, humbly pray to
this Court that kindly reject the contention urged by the
appellant on the maintainability of the writ petition and
to kindly upheld the Impugned Judgment and final order
dated:15.12.2021 rightly and legally held by the High
Court   of   Madhya   Pradesh,   Bench   at   Indore   in   Writ
Appeal No. 485 of 2017.
2. That, the impugned order dated 23.09.2016 passed
by the appellant, being illegal, improper and inoperative,
may kindly be set aside;
3. That, the termination order dated 08.05.2015 passed
by the disciplinary authority may kindly be set aside;
4.  That,  necessary  orders   may  kindly   be  passed  for
reinstating the Respondent no. 1 at his original post with
all consequential benefits and back wages;
5.   Any   other   relief,   which   this   Court   may   consider
necessary in the interest of justice, may also be granted
in favor of the Respondent no. 1.”
24.  Later   in   point   of   time,   the   respondent   No.   1   filed
additional written submissions dated 11.08.2022, wherein the
following has been stated:­
“1. That, when Respondent no. 1 was appointed in the
24
said  institution (St. Mary’s  Hr. Sec. School), the said
institution was affiliated to the M.P. Board (State Board).
At that time the school was also in receipt of the Grantin­Aid from the State Government of M.P.
2. That, whilst the respondent no. 1 was appointed on
01.07.1987 but the Service Conditions and Guidelines
for   the   Teachers   was   for   the   first   time   given   on
26.07.2013 by the school to the respondent no. 1. 
3. That, at the time of appointment of respondent no. 1
the said school was governed by the M.P. Ashaskiya
School Viniyam Adhiniyam, 1975 – Which received the
assent of the President on the 18th October, 1975 assetn
first published in the Madhya Pradesh for their better
organization  and  development   and   matters   connected
therewith or incidental thereto.
4. Para 3 of Chapter II of the said Act reproduced below,
“Power   of   State   Government   to   regulate   school
education.­ On and from the commencement of this Act,
the State Government may regulate education in all the
schools in the State in accordance with the provisions of
this Act and the rules made thereunder.”
25. He has relied upon few judgments of this Court as noted
above to fortify his submissions that the writ application filed
before the learned single Judge was maintainable and should
have been entertained on its own merits.
ANALYSIS
26. Having   heard   the   learned   counsel   appearing   for   the
25
appellants and the respondent No. 1 in­person and also having
considered the materials on record, we now proceed to answer
the two pivotal issues referred to above by us.
27. The respondent No. 1 herein has laid much emphasis on
the fact that at the time of his appointment in the school, the
same was affiliated to the Madhya Pradesh State Board. It is his
case that at the relevant point of time the school used to receive
the grant­in­aid from the State Government of Madhya Pradesh.
Later in point of time, the school came to be affiliated to the
CBSE. The argument of the respondent No. 1 seems to be that
as the school is affiliated to the Central Board i.e. the CBSE, it
falls   within   the   ambit   of   “State”   under   Article   12   of   the
Constitution.     The   school   is   affiliated   to   the   CBSE   for   the
purpose of imparting elementary education under the Right of
Children   to   Free   and   Compulsory   Education   Act,   2009   (for
short,   “Act   2009”).   As   the   appellant   No.   1   is   engaged   in
imparting of education, it could be said to be performing public
functions. To put it in other words, the appellant No. 1 could be
said to be performing public duty.  Even if a body performing
26
public duty is amenable to the writ jurisdiction, all its decisions
are not subject to judicial review. Only those decisions which
have public element therein can be judicially reviewed under
the writ jurisdiction. If the action challenged does not have the
public element, a writ of mandamus cannot be issued as the
action could be said to be essentially of a private character.
28.  We may at the outset state that the CBSE is only a
society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860
and the school affiliated to it is not a creature of the statute and
hence not a statutory body. The distinction between a body
created by the statute and a body governed in accordance with
a statute has been explained by this Court in the  Executive
Committee   of   Vaish   Degree   College   v.   Lakshimi   Narain,
(1976) 2 SCC 58, as follows:­
“It   is,   therefore,   clear   that   there   is   a   well   marked
distinction   between   a   body   which   is   created   by   the
statute   and   a   body   which   after   having   come   into
existence is governed in accordance with the provisions
of the statute. In other words, the position seems to be
that   the   institution   concerned   must   owe   its   very
existence to a statute which would be the fountain­head
of its powers. The question in such cases to be asked is,
if there is no statute would the institution have any legal
27
existence.   If   the   answer   is   in   the   negative,   then
undoubtedly it is a statutory body, but if the institution
has   a   separate   existence   of   its   own   without
any reference   to   the   statute   concerned   but   is   merely
governed by the statutory provisions it cannot be said to
be a statutory body.”
29.   As stated above, the school is affiliated to the CBSE for
the sake of convenience, namely, for the purpose of recognition
and syllabus or the courses of study and the provisions of the
Act 2009 and the rules framed thereunder. 
30. The contention canvassed by the respondent No. 1 is that
a   Writ   Petition   is   maintainable   against   the   Committee   of
Management controlling the affairs of an institution (minority)
run by it, if it violates any rules and byelaws laid down by the
CBSE.   First,   as   discussed   above,   the   CBSE   itself   is   not   a
statutory   body   nor   the   regulations   framed   by   it   has   any
statutory force. Secondly, the mere fact that the Board grants
recognition to the institutions on certain terms and conditions
itself does not confer any enforceable right on any person as
against the Committee of Management. 
31.      In  Km.   Regina   v.   St.   Aloysins   High   Elementary
28
School and another,(1972) 4 SCC 188 :  AIR 1971 SC 1920,
this   Court   held   that   the   mere   fact   that   an   institution   is
recognised by an authority, does not itself create an enforceable
right   to   an   aggrieved   party   against   the   Management   by   a
teacher on the ground of breach or non­compliance of any of
the Rules which was part of terms of the recognition. It was
observed as under :­
"The Rules thus govern the terms on which the Government would grant recognition and aid and the Government can enforce these rules upon the management. But
the enforcement of such rules is a matter between the
Government and the management, and a third party,
such as teacher aggrieved by some order of the management cannot derive from the rules any enforceable right
against the management on the ground of breach or noncompliance of any of the rules."
32.  In  Km.   Anita   Verma   v.   D.A.V.   College  Management
Committee, Unchahar, Rai Bareilly, (1992) 1 UPLBEC 30:­
“….30 where the services of a teacher were terminated,
the Court held that the writ petition under Article 226 is
not maintainable as the institution cannot be treated as
the instrumentality of the State. The matter was considered  in detail in  M/s. Habans Kaur v. Committee  of
Management, Guru Teghahadur Public School, Meerut
29
and Anr., 1992 Labour and Industrial Cases 2070 (All),
wherein the services of the petitioner were terminated
by the Managing Committee of the institution recognised
by the C.B.S.E. It was held that the Affiliation Bye­laws
framed by the C.B.S.E. has no statutory force. The Court
under Article 226 of the Constitution of India can enforce
compliance of statutory provision against a Committee of
Management as held in a Full Bench decision of this
Court   in Aley   Ahmad   Abdi   v.   District   Inspector   of
Schools, Allahabad and Ors., AIR 1977 All. 539. The Affiliation Bye­laws of C.B.S.E. having no statutory force,
the only remedy against the aggrieved person is to approach C.B.S.E. putting his grievances in relation to the
violation of the Affiliation Bye­laws by the institution.”
33.  Thus, where a teacher or non­teaching staff challenges
action of Committee of Management that it has violated the
terms of contract or the rules of the Affiliation Byelaws, the
appropriate remedy of such teacher or employee is to approach
the CBSE or to take such other legal remedy available under
law. It is open to the CBSE to take appropriate action against
the Committee of Management of the institution for withdrawal
of   recognition   in   case   it   finds   that   the   Committee   of
Management has not performed its duties in accordance with
the Affiliation Byelaws.
34. It needs no elaboration to state that a school affiliated to
30
the CBSE which is unaided is not a State within Article 12 of
the Constitution of India [See : Satimbla Sharma v. St. Pauls
Senior Secondary School   [(2011) 13 SCC 760]. Nevertheless
the   school   discharges   a   public   duty   of   imparting   education
which   is   a   fundamental   right   of   the   citizen   [See   :  K.
Krishnamacharyulu   v.   Sri  Venkateshwara  Hindu   College
of Engineering, (1997) 3 SCC 571]. The school affiliated to the
CBSE is therefore an “authority” amenable to the jurisdiction
under Article 226 of the Constitution of India [See : Binny Ltd.
and another v. V. Sadasivan and others, (2005) 6 SCC 657].
However, a judicial review of the action challenged by a party
can be had by resort to the writ jurisdiction only if there is a
public law element and not to enforce a contract of personal
service.   A contract of personal service includes all matters
relating   to   the   service   of   the   employee   –   confirmation,
suspension, transfer, termination, etc. [See : Apollo Tyres Ltd.
v. C.P. Sebastian, (2009) 14 SCC 360].
35. This Court in the case of K.K. Saksena v. International
31
Commission on Irrigation and Drainage and others, (2015)
4 SCC 670, after an exhaustive review of its earlier decisions on
the subject, held as follows:­
“43. What follows from a minute and careful reading of
the aforesaid judgments of this Court is that if a person
or authority is  a 'State' within  the meaning of Article
12 of   the   Constitution,   admittedly   a   writ   petition
under Article  226 would   lie  against   such   a  person  or
body. However, we may add that even in such cases
writ would not lie to enforce private law rights. There are
catena   of   judgments   on   this   aspect   and   it   is   not
necessary to  refer to  those judgments as that  is  the
basic principle of judicial review of an action under the
administrative law. Reason is obvious. Private law is
that part of a legal system which is a part of Common
Law   that   involves   relationships   between   individuals,
such as law of contract or torts. Therefore, even if writ
petition   would   be   maintainable   against   an   authority,
which   is   'State'   under Article   12 of   the   Constitution,
before issuing any writ, particularly writ of mandamus,
the Court has to satisfy that action of such an authority,
which is challenged, is in the domain of public law as
distinguished from private law. 
x x x x
52. It is trite that contract of personal service cannot be
enforced. There are three exceptions to this rule, namely:
(i) when the employee is a public servant working under
the Union of India or State; 
(ii)   when   such   an   employee   is   employed   by   an
authority/ body which is a State within the meaning
of Article 12 of the Constitution of India; and 
(ii)   when   such   an   employee   is   'workmen'   within   the
meaning of Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act,
1947 and raises a dispute regarding his termination by
32
invoking the machinery under the said Act. 
In the first two cases, the employment ceases to have
private   law   character   and   'status'   to   such   an
employment is attached. In the third category of cases, it
is the Industrial Disputes Act which confers jurisdiction
on   the   labour   court/industrial   tribunal   to   grant
reinstatement in case termination is found to be illegal.”
36.  The following decisions have been adverted to in  K.K.
Saksena (supra):­
1. Shri   Anadi   Mukta   Sadguru   Shree   Muktajee
Vandasjiswami   Suvarna   Jayanti   Mahotsav
Smarak Trust & Ors. v. V.R. Rudani & Ors.(1989) 2
SCC 691
2. G.   Bassi   Reddy   v.   International   Crops   Research
Institute & Anr., (2003) 4 SCC 225
3.     Praga   Tools   Corporation   v.   Shri   C.A.   Imanual,
(1969) 1 SCC 585 
4. Federal Bank Ltd. v. Sagar Thomas, (2003) 10 SCC
733
37. This Court in  Janet   Jeyapaul   v.   SRM   University  &
Ors.,   reported   in   2015   (13)   SCALE   622,   held   that   when   a
private body exercises its public functions even if it is not a
33
State, the aggrieved person has a remedy, not only under the
ordinary law, but also by way of a writ petition under Article
226 of the Constitution. In the case of Binny Ltd. (supra), this
Court held that the Article 226 of the Constitution is couched
in such a way that a writ of mandamus could be issued even
against a private authority. However, such private authority
must be discharging a public function and that the decision
sought to be corrected or enforced must be in the discharge of
public function.
38.  Paragraph 11 of the judgment in  Binny  Ltd.  (supra) is
reproduced below:­
"Judicial review is designed to prevent the cases of abuse
of   power   and   neglect   of   duty   by   public   authorities.
    However, under our Constitution,     Article 226 is couched
in such a way that a writ of mandamus could be issued
even against a private authority. However, such private
authority must be discharging a public function and that
the decision sought to be corrected or enforced must be in
discharge   of   a   public   function.  The   role   of   the   State
expanded enormously and attempts have been made to
create   various   agencies   to   perform   the   governmental
functions. Several corporations and companies have also
been formed by the government to run industries and to
carry on trading activities. These have come to be known
as   Public   Sector   Undertakings.   However,   in   the
34
interpretation given to Article 12 of the Constitution, this
Court took the view that many of these companies and
corporations could come within the sweep of Article 12 of
the   Constitution.  At   the   same   time,   there   are   private
bodies also which may be discharging public functions. It
is difficult to draw a line between the public functions
and private functions when it is being discharged by a
purely private authority. A body is performing a "public
function" when it seeks to achieve some collective benefit
for the public or a section of the public and is accepted by
the public or that section of the public as having authority
to do so. Bodies therefore exercise public functions when
they intervene or participate in social or economic affairs
in the public interest….”                               (Emphasis
supplied)
39. This Court considered various of its other decisions to
examine the question of public law remedy under Article 226 of
the Constitution.  This Court observed in Binny Ltd. (supra) as
under:­
“29. Thus, it can be seen that a writ of mandamus or
the remedy under Article 226 is pre­eminently a public
law   remedy   and   is   not   generally   available   as   a
remedy   against   private   wrongs.   It   is   used   for
enforcement of various rights of the public or to compel
the   public/statutory   authorities   to   discharge   their
duties and to act within their bounds. It may be used
to do justice when there is wrongful exercise of power
or a refusal to perform duties. This writ is admirably
equipped   to   serve   as   a   judicial   control   over
administrative actions. This writ could also be issued
against any private body or person, specially in view
35
of the words used in Article 226 of the Constitution.
However,   the   scope   of   mandamus   is   limited   to
enforcement of public duty. The scope of mandamus is
determined by the nature of the duty to be enforced,
rather than the identity of the authority against whom
it is sought. If the private body is discharging a public
function and the denial of any right is in connection
with the public duty imposed on such body, the public
law remedy can be enforced. The duty cast on the
public body may be either statutory or otherwise and
the   source   of   such   power   is   immaterial,   but,
nevertheless, there must be the public law element in
such action.  Sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish
between public law and private law remedies.”
 (Emphasis supplied)
40. In the penultimate para, this Court ruled as under:­
“32. Applying these principles, it can very well be said
that a writ of mandamus can be issued against a
private body which is not a State within the meaning
of Article   12 of   the   Constitution   and   such   body   is
amenable to the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the
Constitution and the High Court under Article 226 of
the   Constitution   can   exercise   judicial   review   of   the
action challenged by a party.  But there must be a
public   law   element   and   it   cannot   be   exercised   to
enforce purely private contracts entered into between
the parties.”
                                 (Emphasis supplied)
41. In the background of the above legal position, it can be
safely concluded that power of judicial review under Article 226
36
of the Constitution of India can be exercised by the High Court
even if the body against which an action is sought is not State
or an Authority or an Instrumentality of the State but there
must be a public element in the action complained of.
42. A reading of the above extract shows that the decision
sought to be corrected or enforced must be in the discharge of a
public   function.   No   doubt,   the   aims   and   objective   of   the
appellant No. 1 herein is to impart education, which is a public
function.   However,   the   issue   herein   is   with   regard   to   the
termination   of   service   of   the   respondent   No.   1,   which   is
basically a service contract. A body is said to be performing a
public function when it seeks to achieve some collective benefit
for the public or a section of the public and is accepted by the
public or that section of the public as having authority to do so.
43.  In the case of Committee of Management, Delhi Public
School  &   Anr.   v.  M.K.  Gandhi, reported in (2015) 17 SCC
353, this Court held that no writ is maintainable against a
private school as it is not a "State" within the meaning of Article
12 of the Constitution of India. 
37
44. In the case of Trigun Chand Thakur v. State of Bihar
& Ors., reported in (2019) 7 SCC 513, this Court upheld the
view of a Division Bench of the Patna High Court which held
that   a   teacher   of   privately   managed   school,   even   though
financially aided by the State Government or the Board, cannot
maintain a writ petition against an order of termination from
service passed by the Management.
45. In the case of Satimbla Sharma (supra), this Court held
that   the   unaided   private   minority   schools   over   which   the
Government   has   no   administrative   control   because   of   their
autonomy under Article 30(1) of the Constitution are not “State”
within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution. As the
right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution is available
against the State, it cannot be claimed against unaided private
minority private schools.  
46. The Full Bench of the Allahabad High Court in the case
of Roychan Abraham v. State of U.P., AIR 2019 All 96, after
taking into consideration various decisions of this Court, held
as under:­
38
“38.  Even   if   it   be   assumed   that   an   educational
institution is imparting public duty, the act complained
of must have direct nexus with the discharge of public
duty.  It   is   undisputedly   a   public   law   action   which
confers   a   right   upon   the   aggrieved   to   invoke
extraordinary   writ   jurisdiction   under Article   226 for   a
prerogative writ. Individual wrongs or breach of mutual
contracts   without   having   any   public   element   as   its
integral   part   cannot   be   rectified   through   petition
    under Article 226. Wherever Courts have intervened in
exercise   of   jurisdiction   under Article   226,   either   the
service   conditions   were   regulated   by   statutory
provisions   or   the   employer   had   the   status   of   'State'
within the expansive definition under Article 12 or it was
found   that   the   action   complained   of   has   public   law
element.”
(Emphasis supplied)
47. We may refer to and rely upon one order passed by this
Court in the case of S.K. Varshney v. Principal, Our Lady of
Fatima  H.S.S., in the Civil Appeal Nos. 8783­8784 of 2003
dated July 19, 2007, in which the dispute was one relating to
the   retirement   age   of   a   teacher   working   in   an   unaided
institution. This Court, while dismissing the appeal preferred by
the employee, held as under:­
“Both   the   petitions   were   dismissed   by   the   learned
single   Judge   on   the   ground   that   no   writ   would   lie
against   unaided   private   institutions   and   the   writ
petitions were not maintainable. 
39
Aggrieved   thereby,   writ   appeals   have   been   filed
before   the   Division   Bench   without   any   result.   The
Division   Bench   held   that   the   writ   petitions   are   not
maintainable   against   a   private   institute.   Aggrieved
thereby, these appeals have been filed. 
Counsel   for   the   appellant   relied   on   a   decision
rendered by this Court in K. Krishnamacharyulu & Ors.
Vs. Sri Venkateswara Hindu College of Engineering &
Anr., (1997) 3 SCC 571. He particularly relied on the
observation made by this Court in paragraph 4 of the
order that when an element of public interest is created
and   the   institution   is   catering   to   that   element,   the
teacher, being the arm of the institution, is also entitled
to avail of the remedy provided under Article 226.
This Court in Sushmita Basu & Ors. Vs. Ballygunge
Siksha Samity & Ors., (2006) 7 SCC 680 in which one of
us (Sema, J.) is a party, after considering the aforesaid
judgment has distinguished the ratio by holding that the
writ   under   Article   226   of   the   Constitution   against   a
private educational institute would be justified only if a
public law element is involved and if it  is only a private
law remedy no writ petition would lie.  In the present
cases,   there   is   no   question   of   public   law   element
involved inasmuch as the grievances of the appellants
are of personal nature. We, accordingly, hold that writ
petitions   are   not   maintainable   against   the   private
institute. There is no infirmity in the order passed by the
learned   single   Judge   and   affirmed   by   the   Division
Bench.   These   appeals   are   devoid   of   merit   and   are,
accordingly,   dismissed.   No   costs.”
(Emphasis supplied)
48.  We may also refer to and rely upon the decision of this
Court  in   the   case   of  Vidya   Ram   Misra   v.   The   Managing
40
Committee Shri Jai Narain College, (1972) 1 SCC 623 : AIR
1972 SC 1450. The appellant therein filed a writ petition before
the Lucknow Bench of the High Court of Allahabad challenging
the validity of a resolution passed by the Managing Committee
of Shri Jai Narain College, Lucknow, an associated college of
the Lucknow University, terminating his services and praying
for   issue   of   an   appropriate   writ   or   order   quashing   the
resolution. A learned single Judge of the High Court finding
that in terminating the services, the Managing Committee acted
in violation of the principles of natural justice, quashed the
resolution   and   allowed   the   writ   petition.   The   Managing
Committee appealed against the order. A Division Bench of the
High Court found that the relationship between the college and
the appellant therein was that of master and servant and that
even if the service of the appellant had been terminated in
breach of the  audi alteram partem  rule of natural justice, the
remedy of the appellant was to file a suit for damages and not
to apply under Article 226 of the Constitution for a writ or order
in the nature of certiorari and that, in fact, no principle of
41
natural justice was violated by terminating the services of the
appellant.   The   writ   petition   was   dismissed.   In   appeal,   this
Court upheld the decision of the High Court holding that the
Lecturer cannot have any cause of action on breach of the law
but only on breach of the contract, hence he has a remedy only
by way of suit for damages and not by way of writ under Article
226 of the Constitution. In  Vidya   Ram   Misra  (supra), this
Court observed thus:
“12. Whereas in the case of Prabhakar Ramakrishna
Jody v. A.L. Pande (1965) 2 SCR 713, the terms and
conditions of service embodies in Clause 8(vi)(a) of the
‘College   Code’   had   the   force   of   law   apart   from   the
contract   and   conferred   rights   on   the   appellant   there,
here the terms and conditions mentioned in Statute 151
have   no   efficacy,   unless   they   are   incorporated   in   a
contract. Therefore, appellant cannot found a cause of
action on any breach of the law but only on the breach
of the contract.  As already indicated, Statute 151 does
not lay down any procedure for removal of a teacher to
be   incorporated   in   the   contract.   So,   Clause   5   of   the
contract can, in no event, have even statutory flavour
and   for   its   breach,   the   appellant’s   remedy   lay
elsewhere. 
13.   Besides,   in   order   that   the   third   exception   to   the
general   rule   that   no   writ   will   lie   to   quash   an   order
terminating   a   contract   of   service,   albeit   illegally,   as
stated in S.R Tewari v. District Board, Agra, (1964) 3
SCR   55   :   AIR   1964   SC   1680,    might   apply,   it   is
42
necessary that the order must be the order of a statutory
body acting in breach of a mandatory obligation imposed
by a statute. The college, or the Managing Committee in
question, is not a statutory body and so the argument of
Mr. Setalvad that the case in hand will fall under the
third  exception  cannot  be  accepted. The  contention  of
counsel that this Court has sub­silentio sanctioned the
issue   of   a   writ   under   Article   226   to   quash   an   order
terminating services of a teacher passed by a college
similarly   situate   in Prabhakar   Ramakrishna   Jodh
(supra), and, therefore, the fact that the college or the
Managing Committee was not a statutory body was no
hindrance to the High Court issuing the writ prayed for
by the appellant has no merit as this Court expressly
stated   in   the   judgment   that   no   such   contention   was
raised in the High Court and so it cannot be allowed to
be raised in this Court.”
49. In the case on hand, the facts are similar. Rule 26(1) of
the Affiliation Byelaws, framed by the CBSE, provides that each
school affiliated with the Board shall frame Service Rules. Subrule (2) of it provides that a service contract will be entered with
each employee as per the provision in the Education Act of the
State/U.T. or as given in the Appendix III, if not obligatory as
per   the   State   Education   Act.   These   rules   also   provide
procedures   for   appointments,   probation,   confirmation,
recruitment, attendance representations, grant of leave, code of
43
conduct, disciplinary procedure, penalties, etc. The model form
of contract of service, to be executed by an employee, given in
Appendix III, lays down that the service, under this agreement,
will be liable to disciplinary action in accordance with the Rules
and Regulations framed by the school from time to time. Only
in case where the post is abolished or an employee intends to
resign, Rule 31 of Affiliation Byelaws of the Board will apply. It
may be noted that the above byelaws do not provide for any
particular procedure for dismissal or removal of a teacher for
being incorporated in the contract. Nor does the model form of
contract given in the Appendix III lays down any particular
procedure for that purpose. On the contrary, the disciplinary
action   is   to   be   taken   in   accordance   with   the   Rules   and
Regulations framed by the school from time to time.
50. On a plain reading of these provisions, it becomes clear
that   the   terms   and   conditions   mentioned   in   the   Affiliation
Byelaws may be incorporated in the contract to be entered into
between the school and the employee concerned. It does not say
that the terms and conditions have any legal force, until and
44
unless they are embodied in an agreement. To put it in other
words, the terms and conditions of service mentioned in the
Chapter VII of the Affiliation Byelaws have no force of law. They
become terms and conditions of service only by virtue of their
being incorporated in the contract. Without the contract they
have no vitality and can confer no legal rights. The terms and
conditions   mentioned   in   the   Affiliation   Byelaws   have   no
efficacy,   unless   they   are   incorporated   in   a   contract.   In   the
absence of any statutory provisions governing the services of
the employees of the school, the service of the respondent no.
1 was purely contractual. A contract of personal service cannot
be enforced specifically. Therefore, the respondent no. 1 cannot
find a cause of action on any breach of the law, but only on the
breach of the contract. That being so, the appellant’s remedy
lies elsewhere and in no case the writ is maintainable.
51. Thus, the aforesaid order passed by this Court makes it
very   clear   that   in   a   case   of   retirement   and   in   case   of
termination, no public law element is involved.  This Court has
held that a writ under Article 226 of the Constitution against a
45
private educational institution shall be maintainable only if a
public law element is involved and if there is no public law
element is involved, no writ lies. 
52. In  T.M.A.   Pai   Foundation   v.   State   of   Karnataka,
(2002)   8   SCC   481,   an   eleven­Judge   Bench   of   this   Court
formulated   certain   points   in   fact   to   reconsider   its   earlier
decision   in   the   case   of  Ahmedabad   St.   Xavier’s   College
Society v. State of Gujarat, (1974) 1 SCC 717, and also the
case of Unnikrishnan P.J. v. State of A.P., reported in (1993)
4  SCC   111,   regarding  the   “right   of  the   minority   institution
including   administration   of   the   student   and   imparting
education   vis­à­vis   the   right   of   administration   of   the   nonminority student”.  In the said case, very important points arose
as follows:­
“5. (c) Whether the statutory provisions which regulate
the facets of administration like control over educational
agencies,   control  over   governing   bodies,   conditions   of
affiliation including recognition/withdrawal thereof, and
appointment of staff, employees, teachers and principals
including their service conditions and regulation of fees
etc. would interfere with the right of administration of
minorities?
46
A.   So   far   as   the   statutory   provisions   regulating   the
facets of administration are concerned, in case of an
unaided minority educational institution, the regulatory
measure of control should be minimal and the conditions
of recognition as well as conditions of affiliation to a
university or board have to be complied with, but in the
matter of day­to­day management, like appointment of
staff,   teaching   and   non­teaching   and   administrative
control   over   them,   the   management   should   have   the
freedom and there should not be any external controlling
agency. However, a rational procedure for selection of
teaching staff and for taking disciplinary action has to
be evolved by the management itself. For redressing the
grievances   of   such   employees   who   are   subjected   to
punishment or termination from service, a mechanism
will have to be evolved and in our opinion, appropriate
tribunals   could   be   constituted,   and   till   then,   such
tribunal could be presided over by a judicial officer of
the rank of District Judge. The State or other controlling
authorities, however, can always prescribe the minimum
qualifications, salaries, experience and other conditions
bearing on the merit of an individual for being appointed
as a teacher of an educational institution.
Regulations can be framed governing service conditions
for teaching and other staff for whom aid is provided by
the State without interfering with overall administrative
control   of   management   over   the   staff,   government/
university   representative   can   be   associated   with   the
Selection Committee and the guidelines for selection can
be laid down. In regard to unaided minority educational
institutions such regulations, which will ensure a check
over unfair practices and general welfare of teachers
could be framed.”
53. We now procced to look into the two decisions of this
47
Court in the cases of Ramesh Ahluwalia (supra) and Marwari
Balika Vidhyalaya (supra) resply.
54. In Ramesh Ahluwalia (supra), the appellant therein was
working   as   an   administrative   officer   in   a   privately   run
educational institution and by way of disciplinary proceedings,
was removed from service by the managing committee of the
said educational institution. A writ petition was filed before the
learned single Judge of the High Court challenging the order of
the disciplinary authority wherein he was removed from service.
The writ petition was ordered to be dismissed in limine holding
that the said educational institution being an unaided and a
private school managed by the society cannot be said to be an
instrument of the State. The appeal before the Division Bench
also came to be dismissed. The matter travelled to this Court.
The principal argument before this Court was in regard to the
maintainability of the writ petition against a private educational
institution. It was argued on the behalf of the appellant therein
that  although  a private  educational  institution may not fall
within   the   definition   of   “State”   or   “other   authorities/
48
instrumentalities”   of   the   State   under   Article   12   of   the
Constitution, yet a writ petition would be maintainable as the
said educational institution could be said to be discharging
public functions by imparting education. However, the learned
counsel   for   the   educational   institution   therein   took   a   plea
before this Court that while considering whether a body falling
with the definition of “State”, it is necessary to consider whether
such   body   is   financially,   functionally   and   administratively
dominated by or under the control of the government. It was
further argued that if the control is merely regulatory either
under a statute or otherwise, it would not ipso facto make the
body   “State”   within   Article   12   of   the   Constitution.   On   the
conspectus   of   the   peculiar   facts   of   the   case   and   the
submissions   advanced,   this   Court   held   that   a   writ   petition
would   be   maintainable   if   a   private   educational     institution
discharges   public   functions,   more   particularly   imparting
education. Even by holding so, this Court declined to extend
any   benefits   to   the   teacher   as   the   case   involved   disputed
questions of fact.
49
55. We take notice of the fact that in  Ramesh  Ahluwalia
(supra) the attention of the Hon’ble Judges was not drawn to
the earlier decisions of this Court in  K. Krishnamacharyulu
(supra), Federal Bank (supra), Sushmita Basu v. Ballygunge
Siksha   Samity, (2006)   7   SCC   680,   and  Committee   of
Management,  Delhi Public School v. M.K. Gandhi (supra).
56. In  Marwari   Balika   Vidhyalaya  (supra),   this   Court
followed Ramesh Ahluwalia (supra) referred to above. 
57. We may say without any hesitation that the respondent
No. 1 herein cannot press into service the dictum as laid down
by   this   Court   in   the   case   of  Marwari   Balika   Vidhyalaya
(supra) as the said case is distinguishable. The most important
distinguishing   feature   of   the   case   of  Marwari   Balika
Vidhyalaya (supra) is that in the said case the removal of the
teacher from service was subject to the approval of the State
Government.   The   State   Government   took   a   specific   stance
before this Court that its approval was required both for the
appointment as well as removal of the teacher. In the case on
50
hand, indisputably the government or any other agency of the
government   has   no   role   to   play   in   the   termination   of   the
respondent No. 1 herein. 
58. In context with Marwari Balika Vidhyalaya (supra), we
remind ourselves of the Byelaw 49(2) which provides that no
order with regard to the imposition of major penalty shall be
made by the disciplinary authority except after the receipt of
the   approval   of   the   disciplinary   committee.   Thus   unlike
Marwari   Balika   Vidhyalaya  (supra)   where   approval   was
required of the State Government, in the case on hand the
approval is to be obtained from the disciplinary committee of
the institution. This distinguishing feature seems to have been
overlooked   by   the   High   Court   while   passing   the   impugned
order.
59. In Marwari Balika Vidhyalaya (supra), the school was
receiving grant­in­aid to the extent of dearness allowance. The
appointment and the removal, as noted above, is required to be
approved   by   the   District   Inspector   of   School   (Primary
Education) and, if any action is taken dehors such mandatory
51
provisions, the same would not come within the realm of private
element. 
60.     In     Trigun Chand Thakur  (supra), the appellant therein
was appointed as a Sanskrit teacher and a show cause notice
was issued upon him on the ground that he was absent on the
eve   of   the   Independence   day   and   the   Teachers   day   which
resulted   into   a   dismissal   order   passed   by   the   Managing
Committee of the private school. The challenge was made by
filing a writ petition before the High Court which was dismissed
on the ground that the writ petition is not maintainable against
an order terminating the service by the Managing Committee of
the private school. This Court held that even if the private
school was receiving a financial aid from the Government, it
does not make the said Managing Committee of the school a
“State” within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of
India.
61. Merely because a writ petition can be maintained against
the private individuals discharging the public duties and/or
public functions, the same should not be entertained if the
52
enforcement   is   sought   to   be   secured   under   the   realm   of   a
private law. It would not be safe to say that the moment the
private institution is amenable to writ jurisdiction then every
dispute concerning the said private institution is amenable to
writ  jurisdiction.  It   largely   depends  upon   the  nature  of   the
dispute   and   the   enforcement   of   the   right   by   an   individual
against such institution. The right which purely originates from
a   private   law   cannot   be   enforced   taking   aid   of   the   writ
jurisdiction   irrespective   of   the   fact   that   such   institution   is
discharging   the   public   duties   and/or   public   functions.   The
scope of the mandamus is basically limited to an enforcement
of the public duty and, therefore, it is an ardent duty of the
court to find out whether the nature of the duty comes within
the peripheral of the public duty. There must be a public law
element in any action.
62. Our present judgment would remain incomplete if we fail
to   refer   to   the   decision   of   this   Court   in   the   case   of
Ramakrishnan Mission v. Kago Kunya, (2019) 16 SCC 303.
In the said case this Court considered all its earlier judgments
53
on the issue. The writ petition was not found maintainable
against the Mission merely for the reason that it was found
running a hospital, thus discharging public functions/public
duty.   This   Court   considered   the   issue   in   reference   to   the
element of public function which should be akin to the work
performed by the State in its sovereign capacity. This Court
took the view that every public function/public duty would not
make a writ petition to be maintainable against an “authority”
or a “person” referred under Article 226 of the Constitution of
India   unless   the   functions   are   such   which   are   akin   to   the
functions of the State or are sovereign in nature. Few relevant
paragraphs of the said judgment are quoted as under for ready
reference:­
“17. The basic issue before this Court is whether the
functions performed by the hospital are public functions,
on the basis of which a writ of mandamus can lie under
Article 226 of the Constitution. 
18. The hospital is a branch of the Ramakrishna Mission
and   is   subject   to   its   control.   The   Mission   was
established by Swami Vivekanand, the foremost disciple
of Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Service to humanity
is for the organisation co­equal with service to God as is
54
reflected   in   the   motto   “Atmano   Mokshartham   Jagad
Hitaya   Cha”.   The   main   object   of   the   Ramakrishna
Mission   is   to   impart   knowledge   in   and   promote   the
study of Vedanta and its principles propounded by Shri.
Ramakrishna Paramahansa and practically illustrated
by his own life and of comparative theology in its widest
form. Its objects include, inter alia to establish, maintain,
carry   on   and   assist   schools,   colleges,   universities,
research   institutions,  libraries,  hospitals  and  take  up
development   and   general   welfare   activities   for   the
benefit of the underprivileged/backward/tribal people of
society without any discrimination. These activities are
voluntary, charitable and non­profit making in nature.
The activities undertaken by the Mission, a non­profit
entity are not closely related to those performed by the
State in its sovereign capacity nor do they partake of the
nature of a public duty. 
19. The Governing Body of the Mission is constituted by
members of the Board of Trustees of Ramakrishna Math
and is vested with the power and authority to manage
the   organisation.   The   properties   and   funds   of   the
Mission   and   its   management   vest   in   the   Governing
Body. Any person can become a member of the Mission
if elected by the Governing Body. Members on roll form
the   quorum   of   the   annual   general   meetings.   The
Managing Committee comprises of members appointed
by the Governing Body for managing the affairs of the
Mission.   Under   the   Memorandum   of   Association   and
Rules   and   Regulations   of   the   Mission,   there   is   no
governmental control in the functioning, administration
and   day   to   day   management   of   the   Mission.   The
conditions of service of the employees of the hospital are
governed   by   service   rules   which   are   framed   by   the
Mission  without  the  intervention  of  any governmental
body.
55
20. In coming to the conclusion that the appellants fell
within the description of an authority under Article 226,
the High Court placed a considerable degree of reliance
on the judgment of a two­Judge Bench of this Court in
Andi   Mukta   [Andi   Mukta   Sadguru   Shree   Muktajee
Vandas   Swami   Suvarna   Jayanti   Mahotsav   Smarak
Trust v. V.R. Rudani, (1989) 2 SCC 691]. Andi Mukta
[Andi Mukta Sadguru Shree Muktajee Vandas Swami
Suvarna   Jayanti   Mahotsav   Smarak   Trust   v.   V.R.
Rudani, (1989) 2 SCC 691] was a case where a public
trust   was   running   a   college   which   was   affiliated   to
Gujarat   University,   a   body   governed   by   the   State
legislation. The teachers of  the  University and all its
affiliated colleges were governed, insofar as their pay
scales were concerned, by the recommendations of the
University   Grants   Commission.   A   dispute   over   pay
scales   raised   by   the   association   representing   the
teachers of the University had been the subject­matter of
an award of the Chancellor, which was accepted by the
government   as   well   as   by   the   University.   The
management of the college, in question, decided to close
it   down   without   prior   approval.   A   writ   petition   was
instituted before the High Court for the enforcement of
the right of the teachers to receive their salaries and
terminal   benefits   in   accordance   with   the   governing
provisions.   In   that   context,   this   Court   dealt   with   the
issue as to whether the management of the college was
amenable   to   the   writ   jurisdiction.   A   number   of
circumstances weighed in the ultimate decision of this
Court, including the following:
20.1.   The   trust   was   managing   an   affiliated
college. 
20.2. The college was in receipt of government
aid. 
20.3. The aid of the government played a major
role in the control, management and work of the
56
educational institution. 
20.4. Aided institutions, in a similar manner as
government   institutions,   discharge   a   public
function of imparting education to students.
20.5. All aided institutions are governed by the
rules and regulations of the affiliating University.
20.6. Their activities are closely supervised by
the University. 
20.7. Employment in such institutions is hence,
not devoid of a public character and is governed
by the decisions taken by the University which
are binding on the management. 
21. It was in the above circumstances that this Court
came to the conclusion that the service conditions of
the   academic   staff   do   not   partake   of   a   private
character,   but   are   governed   by   a   right­duty
relationship between the staff and the management. A
breach of the duty, it was held, would be amenable to
the remedy of a writ of mandamus. While the Court
recognised that “the fast expanding maze of bodies
affecting rights of people cannot be put into watertight
compartments”, it laid down two exceptions where the
remedy of mandamus would not be available : (SCC p.
698, para 15)
“15. If the rights are purely of a private character
no mandamus can issue. If the management of
the college is purely a private body with no public
duty   mandamus   will   not   lie.   These   are   two
exceptions to mandamus.” 
22. Following the decision in Andi Mukta [Andi Mukta
Sadguru   Shree   Muktajee   Vandas   Swami   Suvarna
Jayanti Mahotsav Smarak Trust v. V.R. Rudani, (1989)
2 SCC 691], this Court has had the occasion to re­visit
the underlying principles in successive decisions. This
57
has led to the evolution of principles to determine what
constitutes  a  “public duty” and “public function”  and
whether the writ of mandamus would be available to an
individual who seeks to enforce her right. 
25. A similar view was taken in Ramesh Ahluwalia v.
State of Punjab [Ramesh Ahluwalia v. State of Punjab,
(2012) 12 SCC 331 : (2013) 3 SCC (L&S) 456 : 4 SCEC
715], where a two­Judge Bench of this Court held that a
private   body   can   be   held   to   be   amenable   to   the
jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 when it
performs public functions which are normally expected
to be performed by the State or its authorities. 
26. In Federal Bank Ltd. v. Sagar Thomas [Federal Bank
Ltd. v. Sagar Thomas, (2003) 10 SCC 733], this Court
analysed   the   earlier   judgments   of   this   Court   and
provided a classification of entities against whom a writ
petition may be maintainable : (SCC p. 748, para 18) 
“18.   From   the   decisions   referred   to   above,   the
position that emerges is that a writ petition under
Article   226   of   the   Constitution   of   India   may   be
maintainable against (i) the State (Government); (ii)
an   authority;   (iii)   a   statutory   body;   (iv)   an
instrumentality   or   agency   of   the   State;   (v)   a
company which is financed and owned by the State;
(vi)   a   private   body   run   substantially   on   State
funding; (vii) a private body discharging public duty
or positive obligation of public nature; and (viii) a
person or a body under liability to discharge any
function under any statute, to compel it to perform
such a statutory function.”  
58
63. The aforesaid decision of this Court in  Ramakrishnan
Mission (supra) came to be considered exhaustively by a Full
Bench of the High Court of Allahabad in the case of  Uttam
Chand Rawat v. State of U.P., reported in (2021) 6 All LJ 393
(FB), wherein the Full Bench was called upon to answer the
following question:­
"(i) Whether the element of public function and public
duty   inherent   in   the   enterprise   that   an   educational
institution undertakes, conditions of service of teachers,
whose functions are a sine qua non to the discharge of
that   public   function   or   duty,   can   be   regarded   as
governed by the private law of contract and with no
remedy available under Article 226 of the Constitution?”
64.  The   Full   Bench   proceeded   to   answer   the   aforesaid
question as under:­
“16. The substance of the discussion made above is that
a   writ   petition   would   be   maintainable   against   the
authority or the person which may be a private body, if
it   discharges   public   function/public   duty,   which   is
otherwise primary function of the State referred in the
judgment of the Apex Court in the case of Ramakrishnan
Mission   (supra)   and   the   issue   under   public   law   is
involved. The aforesaid twin test has to be satisfied for
entertaining   writ   petition   under Article   226 of   the
Constitution of India.
59
17. From the discussion aforesaid and in the light of the
judgments referred above, a writ petition under Article
226 of the Constitution would be maintainable against
(i) the Government; (ii) an authority; (iii) a statutory body;
(iv)   an   instrumentality   or   agency   of   the   State;   (v)   a
company which is financed and owned by the State; (vi)
a private body run substantially on State funding; (vii) a
private   body   discharging   public   duty   or   positive
obligation of public nature; and (viii) a person or a body
under   liability   to   discharge   any   function   under   any
statute, to compel it to perform such a statutory function.
18.  There is thin line between "public functions" and
"private functions" discharged by a person or a private
body/authority. The writ petition would be maintainable
only   after   determining   the   nature   of   the   duty   to   be
enforced by the body or authority rather than identifying
the authority against whom it is sought.
19. It is also that even if a person or authority is
discharging   public   function   or   public   duty,   the   writ
petition would be maintainable under Article 226 of the
Constitution,   if   Court   is   satisfied   that   action   under
challenge   falls   in   the   domain   of   public   law,   as
distinguished   from   private   law.   The   twin   tests   for
maintainability of writ are as follows :
1.   The   person   or   authority   is   discharging   public
duty/public functions.
2.  Their action under challenge falls in domain of
public law and not under common law.
20. The   writ   petition   would   not   be   maintainable
against an authority or a person merely for the reason
that   it   has   been   created   under   the   statute   or   is   to
governed by regulatory provisions. It would not even in
a case where aid is received unless it is substantial in
60
nature. The control of the State is another issue to hold a
writ petition to be maintainable against an authority or a
person.”                  (Emphasis supplied)
65.  We owe a duty to consider one relevant aspect of the
matter. Although this aspect which we want to take notice of
has not been highlighted by the respondent No.1, yet we must
look into the same. We have referred to the CBSE Affiliation
Byelaws in the earlier part of our judgment. Appendix­IV of the
Affiliation Byelaws is with respect to the minority institutions.
Clause   6   of   Appendix­IV   is   with   respect   to   the   disciplinary
control over the staff in a minority educational institution. We
take notice of the fact that in Clause 6, the State has the
regulatory power to safeguard the interests of their employees
and   their   service   conditions   including   the   procedure   for
punishment to be imposed. For the sake of convenience and at
the cost of repetition, we quote Clause 6 once again as under:
“6.   Disciplinary   Control   over   Staff   in   Minority
Educational   Institutions: While   the   managements
should   exercise   the   disciplinary   control   over   staff,   it
must be ensured that they hold an inquiry and follow a
fair procedure before punishment is given. With a view
to   preventing   the   possible   misuse   of   power   by   the
61
management  of the  Minority Educational Institutions,
the State has the regulatory power to safeguard the
interests of their employees and their service conditions
including procedure for punishment to be imposed.”
(Emphasis supplied)
66.  It could be argued that as the State has regulatory power
to safeguard the interests of the employees serving with the
minority   institutions,   any   action   or   decision   taken   by  such
institution is amenable to writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of
the Constitution.
67.  In the aforesaid context, we may only say that merely
because the State Government has the regulatory power, the
same, by itself, would not confer any such status upon the
institution (school) nor put any such obligations upon it which
may be enforced through issue of a Writ under Article 226 of
the Constitution. In this regard, we may refer to and rely upon
the decision of this Court in the case of Federal Bank (supra).
While deciding whether a private bank that is regulated by the
Banking Regulation Act, 1949 discharges any public function,
this Court held thus:­
62
"33.   ...   in   our   view,   a   private   company   carrying   on
banking   business   as   a   scheduled   bank,   cannot   be
termed as an institution or a company carrying on any
statutory or public duty. A private body or a person may
be   amenable   to   writ   jurisdiction   only   where   it   may
become necessary to compel such body or association to
enforce any statutory obligations or such obligations of
public   nature   casting   positive   obligation   upon   it.   We
don't find such conditions are fulfilled in respect of a
private company carrying on a commercial activity of
banking.  Merely  regulatory  provisions  to  ensure   such
activity   carried   on   by   private   bodies   work   within   a
discipline,   do   not   confer   any   such   status   upon   the
company nor put any such obligation upon it which may
    be enforced through issue of a writ under     Article 226 of
the Constitution. Present is a case of disciplinary action
being taken against its employee by the appellant Bank.
The   respondent's   service   with   the   Bank   stands
terminated. The action of the Bank was challenged by
    the   respondent   by   filing   a   writ   petition   under Article
    226 of the Constitution of India. The respondent is not
trying to enforce any statutory duty on the part of the
Bank."
34. Thus, contracts of a purely private nature would not
be subject to writ jurisdiction merely by reason of the
fact that they are structured by statutory provisions.
The only exception to this principle arises in a situation
where the contract of service is governed or regulated
by a statutory provision. Hence, for instance, in K.K.
Saksena [K.K. Saksena v. International Commission on
Irrigation & Drainage, (2015) 4 SCC 670 : (2015) 2 SCC
(Civ) 654 : (2015) 2 SCC (L&S) 119] this Court held that
when   an   employee   is   a   workman   governed   by
the Industrial   Disputes   Act,   1947,   it   constitutes   an
exception   to   the   general   principle   that   a   contract   of
63
personal   service   is   not   capable   of   being   specifically
enforced or performed.
35. It is of relevance to note that the Act was enacted to
provide   for  the   regulation   and  registration   of   clinical
establishments   with   a   view   to   prescribe   minimum
standards of facilities and services. The Act, inter alia,
stipulates   conditions   to   be   satisfied   by   clinical
establishments for registration. However, the Act does
not   govern   contracts   of   service   entered   into   by   the
hospital with respect to its employees. These fall within
the ambit of purely private contracts, against which writ
jurisdiction cannot lie. The sanctity of this distinction
must be preserved."    (Emphasis supplied)
68. We may sum up our final conclusions as under:­
(a)   An   application   under   Article   226   of   the
Constitution is maintainable against a person or a body
discharging   public   duties   or   public   functions.   The
public duty cast may be either statutory or otherwise
and where it is otherwise, the body or the person must
be shown to owe that duty or obligation to the public
involving   the   public   law   element.   Similarly,   for
ascertaining the discharge of public function, it must
be established that the body or the person was seeking
to achieve the same for the collective benefit of the
64
public or a section of it and the authority to do so must
be accepted by the public.
(b)Even if it be assumed that an educational institution
is imparting public duty, the act complained of must
have a direct nexus with the discharge of public duty.
It is indisputably a public law action which confers a
right upon the aggrieved to invoke the extraordinary
writ   jurisdiction   under Article   226 for   a   prerogative
writ. Individual wrongs or breach of mutual contracts
without having any public element as its integral part
cannot be rectified through a writ petition under Article
226. Wherever Courts have intervened in their exercise
of   jurisdiction   under Article   226,   either   the   service
conditions were regulated by the statutory provisions
or the employer had the status of “State” within the
expansive definition under Article 12 or it was found
that the action complained of has public law element.
(c)It must be consequently held that while a body may
be discharging a public function or performing a public
duty   and   thus   its   actions   becoming   amenable   to
65
judicial review by a Constitutional Court, its employees
would not have the right to invoke the powers of the
High   Court   conferred   by Article   226 in   respect   of
matter relating to service where they are not governed
or   controlled   by   the   statutory   provisions.   An
educational institution may perform myriad functions
touching various facets of public life and in the societal
sphere. While such of those functions as would fall
within   the   domain   of   a   "public   function"   or   "public
duty" be undisputedly open to challenge and scrutiny
under Article 226 of  the  Constitution, the actions or
decisions   taken   solely   within   the   confines   of   an
ordinary contract of service, having no statutory force
or backing, cannot be recognised as being amenable to
challenge under Article 226 of the Constitution. In the
absence of the service conditions being controlled or
governed   by   statutory   provisions,   the   matter   would
remain in the realm of an ordinary contract of service.
(d)  Even if it be perceived that imparting education
66
by private unaided the school is a public duty within
the expanded expression of the term, an employee of a
non­teaching   staff   engaged   by   the   school   for   the
purpose of its administration or internal management
is only an agency created by it. It is immaterial whether
“A” or “B” is employed by school to discharge that duty.
In   any   case,   the   terms   of   employment   of   contract
between a school and non­teaching staff cannot and
should not be construed to be an inseparable part of
the obligation to impart education. This is particularly
in respect to the disciplinary proceedings that may be
initiated against a particular employee. It is only where
the removal of an employee of non­teaching staff is
regulated by some statutory provisions, its violation by
the employer in contravention of law may be interfered
by   the   court.   But   such   interference   will   be   on   the
ground   of   breach   of   law   and   not   on   the   basis   of
interference in discharge of public duty.
(e)  From the pleadings in the original writ petition,
67
it is apparent that no element of any public law is
agitated or otherwise made out. In other words, the
action challenged has no public element and writ of
mandamus   cannot   be   issued   as   the   action   was
essentially of a private character. 
69. In  view  of the  aforesaid discussion, we  hold  that  the
learned single Judge of the High Court was justified in taking
the   view   that   the   original   writ   application   filed   by   the
respondent No. 1 herein under Article 226 of the Constitution is
not   maintainable.   The   Appeal   Court   could   be   said   to   have
committed an error in taking a contrary view.
70. In  view  of  the  aforesaid, this  appeal  succeeds  and  is
hereby allowed. The impugned judgment and order passed by
the Division Bench of the High Court in the Writ Appeal No.
485   of   2017   is   set   aside.   The   writ   application   accordingly
stands   rejected   on   the   ground   of   its   maintainability.   It   is
needless to clarify that it shall be open to the respondent No. 1
herein to take up the issue with the CBSE itself or the State or
may avail any other legal remedy available to him in accordance
68
with law. We clarify that we have otherwise not expressed any
opinion on the merits of the case.
71. There shall be no order as to costs.
72. Pending application, if any, also stands disposed of.
………………………………………..J.
    (ANIRUDDHA BOSE)
………………………………………..J.
    (J.B. PARDIWALA)
NEW DELHI;
AUGUST 24, 2022
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