Ernakulam, June 16, 2022: While holding that the Manager of the School did not have a case to contend that the reason on the basis of which permission was declined to admit boys in the school was violative of Article 30 of the Constitution, the Kerala High Court has affirmed that the right of the minorities to administer schools of their choice is not an absolute right, but one that could be regulated.
The Division bench of Justice P.B. Suresh Kumar and Justice C.S. Sudha was considering a matter wherein that the petitioner, a Corporate Educational Agency had been running an aided girls high school. Since the school was an only girl’s school, permission of the Director General Education was required in terms of Rule 12 of Chapter VI of the Kerala Education Rules for admitting boys in the school. The Manager of the school , however without obtaining permission of the Director of General Education, admitted boys in the school from the academic year 2004-05 onwards.
The Government, however, regularized the said irregular actions of the Manager and the Educational Officer directed that the boys already admitted in the school will be allowed to complete their study up to standard VII but they shall not be admitted in the school from the academic year 2010-2011 onwards. It was also ordered by the Government that the number of boys admitted in the school shall not be taken into account for staff fixation. The same was assailed by the Manager by way of writ petition. However, the said writ petition was disposed of by directing that the educational agency will be entitled to the same relief flowing from the aforesaid judgment.
The case culled out by the petitioners in the writ petition was that the Manager was entitled to admit boys in the school in the light of an earlier judgment and the strength of the boys were therefore, liable to be reckoned for issuing staff fixation orders. In view of the same the Special Judge directed the Director of General Education to issue orders directing the Educational Officer to revise the staff fixation orders of the school taking into account the strength of the boys admitted in the school as well and approve the appointments of petitioners 2 to 8 and disburse their eligible monetary benefits.Aggrieved by the same, the appellants instituted the present appeal.
After hearing the submissions of the parties, the Court noted that the Manager had earlier admitted boys in the school without obtaining permission of the competent authority in terms of the provisions contained in the KER and the said irregular action was regularized by the Government in terms of Ext.P8 order on condition that boys shall not be admitted in the school from the academic year 2010-2011. The Court further observed that a plain reading of the EXt. P8 indicated that the same was issued by the Government with a view to protect the interests of the boys admitted in the school.
Observing that the judgment in Rt. Rev. Msgr. Mark Netto v. State of Kerala and Others, couldnot be understood to have laid down the proposition that minority educational institutions are entitled to admit students contrary to the provisions contained in Rule 12 of Chapter VI of the Kerala Education Rules, the Bench held that the right of the minorities to administer schools of their choice can be regulated. Thus, the writ appeal was allowed.