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Even irregular appointments cannot be challenged by PIL after 11 years, more so when the qualified teachers were not available for making appointments; writ petition rightly dismissed by DB of HC: SC

Supreme Court of India

Justice R. Subhash Reddy & Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar

The SC on April 17, 2020 {Chander Mohan Negi & Ors. v. State of Himachal Pradesh & Ors.} held that no one has questioned the selection of teachers under the Schemes, at the relevant point of time, writ petitions were filed after 11 years of their appointment and the writ petitioners have not filed any rejoinder controverting the plea of the State as stated in the reply filed in the writ petition and the State had made such appointments by framing the policies when the qualified teachers were not available for making appointments, such appointments made under various schemes cannot be termed as illegal.

It was held that the appointments were made during the year 2001 and 2003, writ petitions were filed belatedly in the year 2012 and 2013 and the writ petitioners in C.W.P. No. 3303 of 2012 were not even qualified when the appointments were made. It was held that though relief was sought against the State to deny the benefit of regularisation to the appointed teachers, they were not even impleaded as party respondents. It was held that an Association was impleaded as third respondent but without furnishing any material to show that at least majority of appointees are members of such Association. 

It was held that when the appointees appointed under the scheme have completed more than almost 15 years of service now and also have acquired the professional qualifications, they cannot be denied regularisation at this point of time. It was held that as the appointments were made as per the schemes notified by the Government such appointments cannot be treated as illegal, if at all they can be considered irregular. It was held that when it is the plea of the State that in view of the hard topography/tribal areas in the State, large number of vacancies were there even in single teacher schools and to achieve the object of The Himachal Pradesh Primary Education Act, 1997 such steps were taken, there is no reason to disbelieve the same, more so, in absence of any affidavit by way of rejoinder by the writ petitioners before the High Court controverting the allegations in the reply filed on behalf of the State.

It was held that it is true that in the initial schemes notified by the Government there was a condition that such appointees should not seek regularisation/absorption but at the same time for no fault of them, they cannot be denied regularisation/absorption. It was held that it is in view of the requirement of the State, their services were extended from time to time and now all the appointees have completed more than 15 years of service. It was observed that for majority of the appointed teachers under the various schemes benefit was already extended and some left over candidates were denied on account of interim orders passed by the Supreme Court during pendency of appeal. It was observed that with regard to Primary Assistant Teachers, all the candidates have completed Special Teacher Training Qualifying Condensed Course and also had obtained special JBT certificate after 5 years’ continuous service in terms of the Himachal Pradesh Education Code 1985.

It was observed by the SC that as the writ petitioners have claimed interest for their appointment, the Division Bench of the High Court has rightly held that such petitions cannot be considered as the public interest litigation.

In the present case, by common impugned judgment dated 09.12.2014 Division Bench of High Court has allowed the Letters Patent Appeals by setting aside the order of the learned Single Judge and dismissed the writ petitions which were clubbed along with the Letters Patent Appeals.

It was held by the SC that having regard to material placed before it and having regard to reasons recorded in the impugned order by the High Court, no case is made out to interfere with the impugned judgment of the High Court. For the aforesaid reasons, all the appeals were dismissed by the SC.

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