This Writ Petition is filed by the petitioner school seeking the following relief:
“….to issue a Writ or Order or Direction more particularly one in the nature of Writ of Mandamus declaring the action of the third respondent in not approving the selections made on 29.05.2017 by the petitioner school on the basis of the permission orders granted in proceedings Rc.No.2468/C2/2017, dated 03.05.2017 as illegal, arbitrary, discriminatory and against the rules issued in G.O.Ms.No.1 Education (P.S.2) Department dated 01.01.1994 and consequentially direct the third respondent to approve the selections made on 29.05.2017 for the aided vacancies as per the proposals submitted by the fourth respondent in letter No.1/2017 dated 29.05.2017 and the petitioner in letter No.Spl/2017 dated 16.08.2017 by releasing the salaries in favour of the selected candidates from the date of their joining as SGTs as is being done in Memo No.ESE 01/126/2018-PS SECT dated 20.05.2019 of the first respondent and pass such other order or orders as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper in the circumstances of the case”.
This Court has heard Sri N. Subba Rao, learned counsel appearing on behalf of Sri W.B. Srinivas, learned counsel for the petitioner and the learned Government Pleader for the respondents.
The petitioner before the Court is a primary school. They have been functioning since long time and the Writ Petition is filed questioning the action of the respondents in not approving the selections that are made to the post of the Secondary Grade Teachers on 29.05.2017.
Learned counsel for the petitioner points out the brief history of this case. According to him the Government imposed a ban, on 20.10.2004, for filling up the aided posts. Thereafter, the matter was agitated legally by the management of various schools, who filed cases, that went all the way upto the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The SLPs were dismissed. Learned counsel for the petitioner points out that after these SLPs were dismissed, the 3rd respondent herein granted permission to the petitioner, in particular on 03.05.2017, to fill up the aided posts. Learned counsel for the petitioner points out that on 18.05.2017, as per the provisions of the relevant rules, the 3rd respondent-District Educational Officer, Markapuram, was appointed as department nominee for the staff selection. The D.E.O. after participating in the selection committee, deliberations and conduct of the examination etc., sent a written report on 29.05.2017 stating that two teachers were selected. Learned counsel points out that thereafter there was no action from the respondents. Suddenly, on 12.09.2017 another ban or abeyance order was given, which according to the learned counsel for the petitioner was lifted on 07.02.2018. Learned counsel therefore points out that basing on the permission granted only they had proceeded further with the recruitment. Learned counsel for the petitioner relies upon the Rule 12 (8) of the A.P. Educational Institutions (Establishment, Recognition, Administration and Control of Schools under Private Managements) Rules, 1993 published on 03.01.1994. Sub Rule 8 and 9 of Rule 12 are is reproduced hereunder:
“(8) All appointments made either teaching or non-teaching staff by aided or un-aided institutions shall be subject to the approval of the competent authority. For this purpose the educational agency shall inform the competent authority within one-month the selection. The Competent Authority shall grant approval unless the selection has been in violation of these rules. In order to obviate confusion, it shall be incumbent on the educational agency to remind the competent authority one month after the initial communication, if no approval is received. The burden of proof of having communicated the selection to the competent authority shall lie with the educational agency.
(9) The educational agency shall make appointment only on the approval as per sub-rule (8) above.”
Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that even in August, 2017, the Mandal Educational Officer addressed a letter to the superiors reiterating the position and informing the concerned that the selections and appointments were done with transparency and as per the Rules only.
Thereafter, learned counsel submits that the petitioner has been following up of the matter with the respondents but there is no improvement in the situation. Last but not the least, learned counsel drew the attention of this Court to the letter dated 04.02.2019, issued by the District Educational Officer, once again to the 2nd respondent-Commissioner of School Education (AP) stating therein that the present petitioner has recruited two staff members duly following the norms prescribed in G.O.Ms.No.1, dated 01.01.1994. The need to recruit two teachers was also emphasised in this letter. Learned counsel also drew the attention of this Court to the proceedings dated 20.05.2019 wherein appointments in other schools in similar posts were approved even though they were completed prior to the issuance of the abeyance order. He states that in the case of the petitioner, there is a discrimination between these institutions and that the respondents are acting clearly in discriminatory manner.
In reply to this learned Government Pleader for School Education, appearing on behalf of the respondents, relying on the counter affidavit, points out that the orders passed by the Courts in various matters are limited to the managements of the schools that have approached the Court. He also states that thereafter it was found many schools are failed to adhere the guidelines and there are some allegations of corruption. Therefore, learned Government Pleader submits that an abeyance order was issued on 30.06.2017. It is his contention that in the case on hand the selections in this case were in May, 2017. He submits that immediately thereafter on 12.09.2017 orders were issued to keep all the appointments in abeyance. Permission for recruitment was only given as per the learned counsel on 20.07.2017. It is his contention that as the petitioner made the recruitment even before the approval given on 20.07.2017 the same is not a valid appointment and therefore he states that the action of the State is correct in refusing to grant permission to the petitioner.
What is reproduced above is the sum and substance of the contentions urged by both the parties. As far as the dates and figures are concerned, this Court notices that there is no dispute between the parties. A striking point that is noticeable is that the permission to conduct the recruitment was given by the 3rd respondent on 03.05.2017 for the aided post and the 4th respondent was appointed as a departmental nominee for the staff selection. The selection was conducted and on 29.05.2017. It is clearly informed to the 3rdrespondent by the 4th respondent that the recruitment was conducted in accordance with the Rules. Apart from that a letter dated 16.08.2017 issued by the Mandal Educational Officer, Manepalli and the letter dated 04.02.2019 issued by the 4th respondent to the Commissioner of School Education clearly point out that the recruitment was done strictly in accordance with the provisions of the applicable Rules. There is no whisper or averment that the petitioner in this case has flouted any Rules or that they have acted contrary to the Rules. Apart from this, Rule 12 (8) states clearly that Educational agency shall inform the competent authority within one month of the selections. Thereafter a duty is cast upon the authority to grant approval. Since no time frame is prescribed in this Rule for granting of approval it does not obliterate the need to give the order within a reasonable time. When no time is prescribed for performance of an action, it should be done within a reasonable time. The only option that is available to the competent authority is to reject the selection if it is contrary to the Rules. If the rule is read literally a two-month time period is prescribed which is a reasonable period to decide this issue. Letters, which are mentioned earlier and which are issued by the responsible officers clearly show that the selection procedure was in accordance with the Rules. Nothing to the contrary has been pointed out by the learned Government Pleader either in the counter affidavit or in the oral submissions. If the rule is literally interpreted neither it gives a period of two months time within which the action should be completed. A duty is cast upon the educational agency to inform the competent authority within one month. Thereafter, if no approval is received again a remainder should be sent. Therefore, if these Rules are very literally interpreted it gives a period of approximately two months for the competent authority to give the approval. Approval can only be refused if the same is contrary to the rules. In the case on hand the letters, which are issued in May-2017, August-2017 and thereafter clearly spell out the procedure that has been adopted and followed.
Despite the same there is no action from the respondents. The respondents being responsible officers of the State are expected to behave as model employers and they cannot sleep over their duties. The ban was also comprehensively lifted on 30.06.2017. Thereafter the abeyance order was issued the Secretary to the State of Andhra Pradesh directed the Commissioner, School Education to lift the abeyance orders. It is surprising why despite these orders the case of the petitioner was not processed.
Lastly, this Court also notices that the letter dated 04.02.2018 addressed to the Commissioner of School Education spells out the need and necessity for filing up the posts. Once the responsible officer states that there is a need to fill up the posts a duty is cast upon the respondents to ensure that the students do not suffer due to lack of competent trained teachers. In addition, the Court also notices that on 20.05.2019 permission was accorded to another school which has recruited teachers prior to the ban. Merely on the ground that the petitioners in W.P.No.23292 of 2010 and batch are parties to the case they cannot be given preferential treatment, particularly when it is not nobody’s case in the said Writ Pe
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tition, order is only applicable to the petitioners’ school. For all the above reasons, this Court holds that as the recruitment was done pursuant to the permission dated 03.05.2017 issued by the District Educational Officer and as the selection procedure was scrupulously followed, the petitioner is entitled to an order as prayed for. This case, in the opinion of this court, is a classic case of inaction by the State. The school, which is interested in imparting proper school education, has recruited the two teachers as per the Rule is still running from pillar to post. For all these reasons, this Court holds that the petitioner is entitled to the relief as prayed for. Accordingly, the respondents are directed to approve the selections made on 29.05.2017 within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this Order and also release all the consequential benefits to the selected candidates immediately thereafter. With these observations, the Writ Petition is allowed. No order as to costs. As a sequel, Miscellaneous Applications, if any, pending in this Writ Petition shall also stand closed.