The provisions of the Karnataka Education Act, 1983, related to service conditions such as retrenchment and resignation of employees in educational institutions applies even to the unaided linguistic minority dental institutes, the High Court of Karnataka has said.
The court said that Section 98(1) of the 1983 Act, which states that an education institution will have to take prior approval from the competent authority, that is from the Commissioner of Collegiate Education, in case of need for retrenchment of any employee of the institution, is also applicable to the unaided institutes.
“If the legislature intended to exclude unaided educational institutions, it would have in so many words said it...,” the court said.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Prasanna B. Varale and Justice Krishna S. Dixit passed the order while dismissing an appeal filed by Rajarajeshwari Dental College and Hospital, an unaided linguistic minority institute.
The institute had questioned a single judge’s order directing it to reinstate Sanjay Murgod, who was a professor in the Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, as he was retrenched from the service in September 2021 without prior approval from the competent authority. The judge had reserved liberty to the institute to seek prior approval from the competent authority to relieve the professor from service.
Not enlisted in the excluded category
Pointing out that the 1983 Act spells out the exclusion of institutions from the applicability of the Act, the Bench said that minority educational institutions, as defined under Section 2(21), are not enlisted in the excluded category of institutions.
While declining to accept the contention of the institute that it was governed under the provisions of the Dentists Act, 1948, the Bench observed that “the provisions of 1948 Act, in essence, intend to regulate the standard of professional education whereas, the provisions of sections 97 and 98 of the 1983 Act in substance intend to secure the service conditions of employees of educational institutions”. The Bench also noted that the 1948 Act does not regulate the service conditions of the employees with the institutions.