Writ Petition Maintainable against Private School or Not ?

Writ Petition Maintainable against Private SchoolLaw Point : Writ Petition Maintainable against Private School or Not ? 

Whether the writ petition maintainable against Private School. This issue was considered in the case of Ramesh Ahluwalia vs. State of Punjab and Ors., (2012) 12 SCC 331. The following paras will give some light on this issue : –

“13.  in the aforesaid case, this Court was also considering a situation where the services of a Lecturer had been terminated who was working in the college run by the Andi Mukti Sadguru Shree Muktajee Vandas Swami Suvarna Jayanti Mahotsav Smarak Trust. In those circumstances, this Court has clearly observed as under: (V.R. Rudani case, SCC PP.700-701, paras 20 & 22)

“20. The term ‘authority’ used in Article 226, in the context, must receive a liberal meaning unlike the term in Article 12. Article 12 is relevant only for the purpose of enforcement of fundamental rights under Article 32. Article 226 confers power on the High Courts to issue writs for enforcement of the fundamental rights as well as non-fundamental rights. The words ‘any person or authority’ used in Article 226 are, therefore, not to be confined only to statutory authorities and instrumentalities of the State. They may cover any other person or body performing public duty. The form of the body concerned is not very much relevant. What is relevant is the nature of the duty imposed on the body. The duty must be judged in the light of positive obligation owed by the person or authority to the affected party. No matter by what means the duty is imposed, if a positive obligation exists mandamus cannot be denied.

22. Here again, we may point out that mandamus cannot be denied on the ground that the duty to be enforced is not imposed by the Statute. Commenting on the development of this law, Professor de Smith states:”To be enforceable by mandamus a public duty does not necessarily have to be one imposed by statute. It may be sufficient for the duty to have been imposed by charter, common law, custom or even contract.” We share this view. The judicial control over the fast expanding maze of bodies affecting the rights of the people should not be put into watertight compartment. It should remain flexible to meet the requirements of variable circumstances. Mandamus is a very wide remedy which must be easily available “to reach injustice wherever it is found”. Technicalities should not come in the way of granting that relief under Article 226. We, therefore, reject the contention urged for the appellant on the maintainability of the writ petition.

The aforesaid observations have been repeated and reiterated in numerous judgments of this Court including the judgments in Unni Krishnan and Zee Telefilms Ltd. brought to our notice by the learned counsel for the appellant Mr. Parikh.

14. In view of the law laid down in the aforementioned judgment of this Court, the judgment of the learned Single Judge as also the Division Bench of the High Court cannot be sustained on the proposition that the writ petition would not maintainable merely because the respondent institution is a purely unaided private educational institution. The appellant had specifically taken the plea that the respondents perform public functions i.e. providing education to children in their institutions throughout India.”

16. It is apparent from the aforesaid decisions that the writ application is maintainable in such a matter even as against the private unaided educational institutions.”

The above citation was also followed in Mahaveer Prasad vs. The Army Welfare Education Society and others (Rajasthan High Court ).

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