Private Unaided Institution Not Amenable to Writ Jurisdiction: Allahabad High Court

In a judgment, the Allahabad High Court ruled that an unaided educational institution is not amenable to writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The ruling was delivered by Justice Shree Prakash Singh in response to a petition challenging the termination of a teacher from a recognized unaided college.

The case saw Guru Milan Prasad represented by his counsel, Sharad Pathak, passionately arguing for the recognition of the institution’s actions under the purview of public law. 

Responding to the preliminary objections raised by the counsels for the respondents, Justice Shree Prakash Singh, meticulously examined the legal intricacies surrounding the termination and subsequent advertisement for the position of Principal.

In the courtroom, Sri Shaildendra Kumar Singh, Sri Vivek Shukla, and Sri Raman Kumar, Manvendra Kumar, and Sri Girish Chandra Verma represented the State and the Committee of Management of the educational institution, respectively.

The core contention revolved around whether the termination of Guru Milan Prasad’s services and the subsequent advertisement for his replacement constituted a private dispute between the institution’s Committee of Management and the petitioner, or if it involved public law elements.

Counsel for the respondents argued that since the institution was unaided and its operations not directly governed by the U.P. Intermediate Education Act, 1921, the writ petition lacked merit. They cited the judgment in Civil Appeal No. 5789 of 2022, St. Mary’s Education Society and Anr. Vs. Rajendra Prasad Bhargava and Ors., to bolster their argument.

In response, Sharad Pathak, relying on legal precedents such as Marwari Balika Vidyalaya Vs. Asha Srivastava and Others and Raj Kumar v. Director of Education & Ors., argued that even unaided private educational institutions could be subject to public law if they performed public duties.

The court extensively quoted from various judgments to support its decision. Referring to Raj Kumar v. Director of Education & Ors., the court emphasized the need for procedural safeguards to protect employees of educational institutions from arbitrary termination. It also drew from St. Mary’s Education Society and Anr. Vs. Rajendra Prasad Bhargava and Ors., highlighting the expansive definition of ‘State’ under Article 12 of the Constitution of India.

The court stated, “An application under Article 226 of the Constitution is maintainable against a person or a body discharging public duties or public functions. The public duty cast may be either statutory or otherwise, and where it is otherwise, the body or the person must be shown to owe that duty or obligation to the public involving the public law element.”

The court’s decision rested on the recognition granted to the institution under Section 7-A of the Act 1921 and the existence of regulations governing the terms and conditions of employment for teachers. It concluded that the institution, despite being private and unaided, performed public functions and was subject to public law.

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In light of the aforementioned submissions and discussions, the preliminary objection raised by the counsel for the opposite parties is hereby rejected. Furthermore, the court has scheduled to list this matter on 21st May, 2024, within the top ten cases, for a hearing on its merits. Additionally, the interim protection granted vide order dated 3rd May 2024 shall remain in effect until the aforementioned hearing date. 

Case Name: Guru Milan Prasad Vs. State Of U.P.

Case No.: WRIT – A No. – 3478 of 2024

Bench: Justice Shree Prakash Singh

Order Dated: 10.5.2024

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