1996(1) ALL MR 474
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY
B.P. SARAF AND S.M. JHUNJHUNUWALA, JJ.
Mrs. Teresa Lopes V/S Carmelite Convent English High School & Others.
WRIT PETITION NO.2880 of 1987
4th September, 1995
Petitioner Counsel: Mr. M.M. VASHI
Respondent Counsel: Mrs. V.S. DIGHEMr. OWEN MENEZES with Mr.R.S. TRIPATHI
Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (Conditions of Service) Regulation Act (1977),S.11 (2) (e) - Termination of service of petitioner on ground that she had, on basis of forged graduation certificate, drew monetary benefits as trained graduate - In appeal Tribunal set aside termination order but instead of reinstatement granted six months emoluments by way of compensation - Held , Tribunal had exercised discretionary power as per S.11 (2) (e) justly and properly and no interference under Constitution Arts.226 and 227 was called for. Constitution of India, Arts.226 and 227. (Para 5)
S.M.JHUNJHUNUWALA,J. By this petition, the Petitioner seeks the relief of being reinstated with all back wages, increments and other benefits as Assistant Teacher in Carmelite Convent English High School, Sandor, Bassein (Vasai) in District - Thane.
2. Carmelite Convent English High School is a Convent School at Sandor, Bassein (Vasai) in Thane District. It is owned and managed by the Christian Missionary. The Petitioner had passed her S.S.C. Examination in the month of March,1969. As from 11th June, 1969, the Petitioner was appointed as Assistant Teacher in Carmelite convent English High School, the 1st Respondent herein. According to the Petitioner, she attended Kasturba College for Women situated at Andheri, Bombay 400 058 which was associated with 'Prayag Mahila Gram vidyapith' which was affiliated to university of Allahabad. It is also the case of the Petitioner that through the said College, she did her External Course of Bachelor of Arts in the year 1972 from the Allahabad University and got a certificate of graduation which was produced before the Principal of the 1st Respondent-School In the month of January 1987, the verification and compilation of service books or records of the teachers employed with 1st Respondent-School commenced and all the teachers in the 1st Respondent-School were called upon to produce the original qualification certificates held by them. The Petitioner was also called upon to produce the original certificate in respect of her Graduation Degree qualification. On 13th January, 1987, the Petitioner produced the certificate dated 31st December, 1972 pertaining to her degree of Bachelor of Arts alleged to have been issued by the University of Allahabad. Thereupon, the Principal of the 1st Respondent-School made enquiries with the University of Allahabad as regards the genuineness of the said certificate produced by the Petitioner. Since, on enquiries made from the University of Allahabad, it was revealed that the said degree certificate produced by the Petitioner was not genuine, a letter dated 23rd January, 1987 was addressed by the Head of the 1st Respondent-School to the Petitioner, inter alia, informing the Petitioner that the said certificate produced by her was found to be a forgery. A Xerox copy of the statement made by the Dy. Registrar, University of Allahabad confirming that the said certificate was a forged one was also forwarded to the Petitioner alongwith the said letter dated 23rd January, 1987. By the said letter, the Petitioner was called upon to show cause as to why disciplinary proceedings should not be taken against her and a complaint be filed with the police for submitting a forged certificate. The Petitioner chose not to reply to the said letter.
3. On 12th February, 1987, the Petitioner addressed a letter to the Registrar, University of Allahabad, inter alia, disputing that the said certificate was a forged one. According to the Petitioner, no reply to the said letter was received by her. However, the Petitioner did not pursue the matter with the university of Allahabad. By the letter dated 5th March, 1987 served upon the Petitioner, the services of the Petitioner as Assistant Teacher with 1st Respondent-School were terminated with effect from 6th March, 1987. On 17th March, 1987, the Petitioner preferred an appeal to the school Tribunal, Bombay, challenging the said order terminating Petitioner's services. As per the order passed on 31st March, 1987, the appeal of the Petitioner filed under section 9 of the Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (Conditions of Service) Regulation Act, 1978 was partly allowed to the extent that the termination of services of the Petitioner with effect from 6th March 1987 was set aside. However, instead of reinstating the Petitioner in the 1st Respondent-School with back wages, the School Tribunal directed the 1st Respondent-School to pay to the Petitioner her emoluments for six months by way of compensation. Being aggrieved by the said order passed on 31st March, 1987, granting six months emoluments to the Petitioner in lieu of reinstatement with back wages, the present petition had been filed by the Petitioner.
4. Mr. M.M. Vashi, learned Advocate appearing for the Petitioner, has submitted that when the order terminating the services of the Petitioner was set aside by the School Tribunal, Bombay as per the order passed on 31st March, 1987, reinstatement of the Petitioner ought to have been ordered by the School Tribunal, Bombay and the order directing the 1st Respondent-School to pay to the Petitioner only six months emoluments by way of compensation being bad in law is liable to be quashed and set aside by this Court in exercise of the powers under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India. Mr. Menezes, learned advocate for the 1st Respondent-school, has supported the said order passed by the School Tribunal not reinstating the Petitioner to 1st Respondent-School. The Degree Certificate on which reliance has been placed by the Petitioner has in terms been found to be a forged one. After the Petitioner was conveyed by the Head of the 1st Respondent-School that on enquiry from the Dy. Registrar, University of Allahabad, it was revealed that the said certificate produced by the Petitioner was a forged one, the Petitioner except writing the letter dated 12th February, 1987 to the Registrar, University of Allahabad has taken no steps to establish that the certificate produced by the Petitioner to the 1st Respondent-school was a genuine one. Admittedly, the original of the said certificate dated 31st December, 1982 alleged to have been issued by the University of Allahabad allegedly conferring the degree of Bachelor of Arts upon the Petitioner, does not bear the seal of the University of Allahabad. The answer of the Registrar of the University of Allahabad to the questionnaire of the 1st Respondent-School makes it clear that the correspondence course in the Allahabad University was started from the year 1976 and the said Kasturba College for Women at Andheri, Bombay was not at all affiliated to that University. On being satisfied that the said certificate on which the Petitioner had put reliance was forged one, the management of the 1st Respondent-School has already filed a Criminal case bearing No.387 of 1987 under sections 464, 467, 468, 471, 474 & 420 of the Indian Penal Code against the Petitioner in the Vasai Court in which a charge-sheet has been framed and is pending. Likewise the Petitioner,there was another lady teacher in the 1st Respondent-School by name Ms. Almeda. She has also procured such Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Allahabad. The cases of the said Ms. Almeda and the Petitioner have been at par. When the true facts were brought to the notice of the said Ms. Almeda, she preferred to resign and left the 1st Respondent-School. However, the Petitioner, despite the said Degree of Bachelor of Arts procured by her being a forged one, had not only continued to remain in service of 1st Respondent-School but even drew monetary benefits from 1st Respondent-School on the basis of the said certificate dated 31st December, 1972 as a trained graduate which the Petitioner was otherwise not entitled to. In the facts of the case, the conduct of the Petitioner has been blameworthy.
5. Section 11 of the Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (Conditions of Service) Regulation Act, 1977 records the powers of the Tribunal to give appropriate reliefs and directions in the appeals preferred to the Tribunal. Sub-clause (e) of Sub-section (2) of section 11 as applicable at the material time prior to its amendment, empowered the School Tribunal to award to the employee six months emoluments by way of compensation when it decided not to reinstate the employee even on setting aside the order terminating the services. Even though the Tribunal, in the said appeal preferred by the Petitioner, has concluded that the order terminating the services of the Petitioner could not be sustained for the reasons mentioned therein, having regard to the facts that the Petitioner produced the said degree certificate which was forged one and that the Petitioner drew monetary benefits from the 1st Respondent-School on the basis of the said forged degree certificate as a trained graduate, the discretionary powers to grant six months emoluments in lieu of reinstatement vested in the Tribunal as per section 11(2)(e) of the said Act have been justly and properly exercised and taking the totality of circumstances into consideration, in our view, no interference by this Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India is called for.