In a big relief to teachers and employees of around 2,900 private unaided schools in Punjab, if they are aggrieved by the school management’s decision, they would no more have to approach courts for redressal of their grievances as they have been brought under the ambit of the existing educational tribunal for speedy justice.
Finally, complying with the high court’s directions, the Punjab Privately Managed Recognised Schools Employees (Security of Service) Act, 1979, has been amended by the state government through an ordinance to bring unaided schools under the jurisdiction of the educational tribunal, constituted in 2008, which was earlier confined to government aided schools only. The Punjab educational tribunal headed by justice RL Anand (retd) is located in SAS Nagar.
The state education department submitted the information before the high court on Thursday during the hearing of a bunch of petitions. However, till date the Haryana government and Chandigarh administration have failed to constitute educational tribunals.
The development is of significance since in most of the cases, aggrieved teachers and employees of private unaided schools were not allowed to invoke the jurisdiction of the high court as the relationship between the school and the teacher was purely contractual and private in nature. Hence teachers were constrained to continue their services with private schools at the whims and fancies of the school management.
The high court, in its order passed on April 5, had issued show-cause notice to the state government as to why suitable proceedings not be initiated against its officials for not complying with the Supreme Court judgment passed in 2003 in “TMA Pai Foundation and other vs State of Karnataka” case in letter and spirit.
Taking note of the state government’s compliance of court orders, the court headed by justice Mahesh Grover, while disposing of a bunch of petitions filed by private school teachers through advocate Vishal Sodhi, granted them the liberty to raise their grievance before the educational tribunal “so as to ensure speedy disposal and to avoid wastage of time”.
Supreme Court directions
The Supreme Court in the case “TMA Pai Foundation and other vs State of Karnataka” in 2003 had ordered, “In the case of educational institutions…requiring a teacher or a member of the staff to go to a civil court for the purpose of seeking redress is not in the interest of general education. It would, therefore, be appropriate that an educational tribunal be set up in each district in a state, to enable the aggrieved teachers to file an appeal.” The judgment reads, “Till a specialised tribunal is set up, the right of filing the appeal would lie before the district judge or additional district judge as notified by the government.”