Read Order: Master Harry and Others v. Union of India and Others

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, April 27, 2022: While dealing with a writ petition filed by some students of a school whose franchise agreement with CBSE stood terminated w.e.f. April 1, 2022, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that the argument of the petitioner to the effect that if the school was not granted approval from the Board under Affiliation Bye-Laws 2018 then the affiliation would be withdrawn, was based on a mere apprehension. 

The Bench of Justice Sudhir Mittal also held, “This is a mere apprehension and Courts do not entertain petitions on the basis of such apprehensions. The argument is consequently rejected.”

In this case, the Court was approached by the student of the fourth respondent (a school). The School holds a franchise from a third respondent (the Central Board of Secondary Education- ‘CBSE’) under an agreement dated October 07, 2002. 

By an order dated March 30, 2021, the CBSE informed the school that the agreement would be terminated w.e.f. April 01, 2022.

Hence, this writ petition was filed on the apprehension that the students studying in the school would be adversely affected as the school would shut down and they would have nowhere to go.

The counsel for the petitioners referred to clauses 15.1 and 15.2 of the Affiliation Bye-laws 2018 of CBSE to submit that on termination of the franchise agreement aforementioned, the school would be de-affiliated from CBSE and, thus, the educational interests of the students would be adversely affected. It was also argued that recognition was also likely to be withdrawn and he also referred to order November 18, 2021 passed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court wherein the order of termination was stayed in a similar case in which the CBSE had granted a franchise to a school in Visakhapatnam.

At the very outset, the Court opined that the arguments of the petitioner were not entitled to be accepted. The Court added that Clause 15.1 of the Affiliation Bye-Laws aforementioned provides that a school seeking affiliation to the CBSE is entitled to enter into an agreement for grant of a franchise and according to Clause 15.2, such a school can be transferred from one society to another society only after the Board grants approval. Thus, the submission of the petitioner was that in case the Board does not grant approval, the affiliation would be withdrawn. 

In this regard, the Court was of the opinion that this was a mere apprehension and Courts do not entertain petitions on the basis of such apprehensions. 

The argument was consequently rejected. The argument regarding withdrawal of recognition was also found by the Court to be based on an apprehension and the same was also rejected. 

Regarding the order passed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, the Court recorded with “due respect” that the facts of that case were not very clear and, thus, the reliance upon the same could not be accepted.

For the aforementioned reasons, the writ petition was dismissed.

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