Seniority has to be recognised to designate seniormost member as Head of the Department


High Court Dismisses writ appeal filed by college

The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday dismissed a writ appeal filed by the Secretary of St. Joseph's College in Tiruchi challenging a Government Order issued on December 5, 1988 asking all aided colleges to designate the senior-most faculty member in every department as the Head of the Department (HOD).

A Division Bench comprising Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice R. Subbiah dismissed two other writ appeals filed by the college management challenging a direction passed by a single judge in 2007 to appoint M. Kalidoss and L.J. Chaarlas, the senior-most staff in the Departments of Physics and Commerce respectively as heads of those departments.

College argument rejected

The Bench rejected the argument made by the college that the 1988 G.O. had been passed in violation of Article 30 (1) of the Constitution which states that all minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. It also refused to accept the contention that the G.O. prevented the college management from designating eminent persons of its choice.

Writing the judgement, Mr. Justice Vasanthakumar said: “Seniority plays a vital role in an employee's career and it has to be recognised. Giving some status to a faculty in recognition of a long number of years of service is a legitimate expectation and the same is recognised by the Government Order which will not in any way affect the rights of the minority management.”

He went on to state that the Supreme Court in Islamic Academy of Education Vs. State of Karnataka (2003) had held that “the right to administer does not amount to the right to mal-administer and the right is not free from regulation.

The regulatory measures are necessary for ensuring orderly, efficient and sound administration and such measures can be laid down by the State.”

Taking a cue from the apex court judgement, the judge said that the G.O. challenged in the present case “was issued to prevent maladministration and it was intended to promote excellence in education of the minority colleges. Therefore, it is only regulatory in nature and not in any way an interference with the rights of the minority management.”