The State Government had not passed any orders appointing a Special Officer to administer the college in view of the dispute in the management

The Madras High Court Bench here has quashed orders passed by Joint Director of Collegiate Education, Madurai Region on June 29 suspending Principal (in-charge) K. Alagu Sundaram and two other non-teaching staff M. Narayanasamy and M. Meera Maideen of Yadava College, a government aided institution, at Thirupalai here.

Justice K. Chandru quashed the orders while allowing writ petitions filed by the three individuals through a common order. He held that the Joint Director was not empowered to initiate disciplinary action against the college staff in the guise of regulating payment of salary and leave facilities due to a dispute within the college management.

The judge agreed with senior counsel M. Ajmal Khan that only the College Committee or a Special Officer appointment by the State Government, by invoking Section 14A of the Tamil Nadu Private Colleges (Regulation) Act 1976, was empowered to initiate disciplinary action against teaching as well as non-teaching staff of private colleges.

In so far as the present case was concerned, the College Committee was still in existence as it was neither dissolved nor superseded by the Higher Education Department following due procedures of law. The State Government had not passed any orders appointing a Special Officer to administer the college in view of the dispute in the management.

Pointing out that all the three petitioners had been implicated in a criminal case registered by the local police under Section 402 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, the judge said that the only option available to the Joint Director was to take it to the knowledge of Government which, in turn, could appoint a Special Officer by superseding the management.

He also referred to a 1985 Government Order which authorises Regional Deputy Directors of Collegiate Education to attend to certain items of work in case of dispute in the management of government aided private colleges. The G.O. nowhere indicated that the official concerned could initiate disciplinary action against the college staff.

Keywords: Yadava College

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