The acting principal and staff of Robert Money Technical Junior College, Grant Road, have dragged the management to court over its decision to shut the 178-year-old institution.
The full-time staffers have filed a petition in the Bombay high court against the Bombay Diocesan Society (BDS), which runs the institution. The petition, which is likely to be heard later this month, alleges that the closure of the junior college is “illegal and arbitrary”.
The petition states that the management did not take permission for the move from the government, as mandated under the Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools Act, 1981. The Act also stipulates that the management should declare the permanent staff as surplus, in case of closure or reduction in divisions, in order to absorb them in some other school or high school or junior college.
According to the petition, the management has not admitted students to the junior college (Classes 11 and 12) this year. “The only students left are of the academic year 2011-12 who are now in Class 12,” the petition states. It adds that this is the only junior college in the area offering a specialisation in vocational education and training.
The staff claims that they were not informed about the decision to close the junior college and learned about it only when a notice stating that the admissions for the academic year 2012-2013 were closed was pasted on the notice board. The staff wrote to BDS in May asking for reasons for shutting down the junior college but got no response.
The petition states that in 2008-2009, the BDS decided to shut down the primary section of the institute. In the next academic year, it decided to shut down Classes 5 to 8.
The petition has sought the court’s intervention to declare the closure of Class 11 as illegal and to direct the management to admit students to Class 11 this year. “We are not against a change in the system. But we are worried about the future of the teaching and non-teaching staff. Some of us are close to retirement and may lose our pension if rendered jobless,” said one of the petitioners.
Raman Singh, spokesperson for Bishop Patole, chairman of the institution, said the staff was responsible for the deteriorating condition of the institute. “Based on inspection reports from the education department, the management decided to shut the institute,” said Singh. However, the staff claimed the inspection reports were pertaining to the Marathi medium school and not the technical college.
The matter is likely to be heard next week.