UT judge to decide disputes till Education Tribunal is set up

Now those pursuing litigation on matters relating to education and other administrative decisions will not have to wait for years for adjudication of their cases.

Written by RAGHAV OHRI | Chandigarh | Published: May 10, 2013 2:48:14 am

Now those pursuing litigation on matters relating to education and other administrative decisions will not have to wait for years for adjudication of their cases. For,an Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADJ) of Chandigarh court has been empowered to dispose of such disputes expeditiously. The ADJ will act as officiating Education Tribunal.

Till the time the Central government clears the proposal sent by the Chandigarh Administration for appointing chairman and members and provide infrastructure for an Education Tribunal,the ADJ will decide all such disputes pertaining to appointment/removal of teaching staff and other administrative decisions. The decision to appoint an ADJ,as an interim arrangement,was conveyed to the administration on Wednesday by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. It was the administration which had written to the High Court a month back,asking as to who should be given the officiating charge till an education tribunal was set up. The response was sent by the High Court on Wednesday.

With the dispute having been settled,the administration will soon issue a notification in this regard and all disputes pertaining to education will be referred to the ADJ. In April,the administration had written to the Central government sending a proposal for selection of chairman and members of the tribunal,which is yet to be set up.

The administration has proposed that the chairman of the tribunal should be a retired High Court judge. While one member should be of the post of a retired secretary,the other should be a person having rich experience in the field of education. The Central government is yet to give its go-ahead on the proposal.

To ensure that no delay is caused,the administration had written to the High Court seeking suggestions for making an interim arrangement. The High Court,in October last,had come down heavily on the administration for not setting up the education tribunal. In October 2002,a Constitutional Bench comprising 11 Supreme Court Judges had passed a detailed judgment making it mandatory for all states to have an Education Tribunal.

Till now,there was ambiguity as to which was the competent authority to decide disputes pertaining to education. Cases were being directly filed in the courts resulting in delay. With setting up of a tribunal exclusively for such litigation,disputes will be resolved without delay.

The tribunal,as per the Supreme Court’s judgment,will decide all disputes pertaining to appointment/removal of teaching staff and other administrative decisions. The High Court,on previous dates,had slammed the “insensitive” babus of the UT Administration for their lackadaisical attitude. Four years before the Supreme Court passed a judgment directing all the states to come up with an education tribunal,the UT Administration had adopted an Act passed by the Punjab government which made it clear that a school tribunal be set up to decide administrative disputes.

Surprisingly,the said Act was never notified by the Chandigarh Administration. Under fire from the High Court,the administration had finally decided to set up an Education Tribunal.

In its detailed judgment,the 11-judge Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court had held,“In the matter of day-to-day management like appointment of staff,teaching and non-teaching and administrative control over them,the management should have the freedom and there should not be any external controlling agency. However,a rational procedure for selection of teaching staff and for taking disciplinary action has to be evolved by the management itself. For redressing the grievances of such employees who are subjected to punishment or termination from service,a mechanism will have to be evolved and in our opinion,appropriate tribunals could be constituted,and till then,such tribunal could be presided over by a judicial officer of the rank of District Judge.”

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