HC orders approval of her appointment since August 2000; payment of salary arrears

The Madras High Court Bench here has come to the aid of a secondary grade teacher working in a government aided private school for the last 11 years without receiving any salary as her appointment in August 2000 was yet to be approved by the School Education Department.

Allowing a 2007 writ petition filed by the teacher, J. Prabeula Jasmine, working in a school run by Kanyakumari Diocese, Justice D. Hariparanthaman directed the Kanyakumari District Educational Officer (DEO) to approve her appointment from August 2, 2000 and also pay arrears of salary within three months.

The judge pointed out that the petitioner had filed a writ petition in 2005 itself claiming sanction of her appointment as well as salary arrears. That case was disposed of on January 3, 2006 with a direction to the District Educational Officer to consider a representation made by her in August 2005 and to pass appropriate orders within three weeks.

Thereafter, the DEO passed an order on February 24, 2006 rejecting the petitioner’s claim on the ground that the sanctioned strength of the school during the academic year 2000-01 was only 12 and that the petitioner was one among the three surplus teachers who could not be appointed against the sanctioned strength.

The DEO also stated that the Duthie Girls Higher Secondary School where she was working had not sent any proposal to approve her appointment.

Another petition

Hence, the petitioner filed another writ petition in 2006 seeking to quash the DEO’s order and to order for approval of her appointment and payment of salary from August 2000.

Disposing of the second writ petition, the court on October 26, 2006 directed the school to send a proposal for approval.

The DEO, in turn, was directed to pass orders granting approval after finding out whether the petitioner was appointed against a vacant post and also whether she was qualified to be appointed as a secondary grade teacher.

On December 18, 2006, the then District Educational Officer passed an order rejecting the petitioner’s plea once again.

But this time, he stated that the sanctioned strength of the school in 2000-01 was only 15 and hence the petitioner who was actually in the 17th place and later graduated to the 16th place, following promotion given to another teacher, was not eligible for the benefit.

Inconsistent in stand

Holding that the District Educational Officer was not consistent in his stand with respect to the number of sanctioned posts in the school in 2000-01 and also pointing out that the surplus teachers had not been redeployed elsewhere, the judge directed the DEO to approve the appointment of the petitioner who alone had been denied salary for more than a decade.

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