Manipur High Court: In writ petitions filed to quash certain orders relating to the dissolution of the governing body of Naorem Birahari College (‘NBC’) and for constituting fresh governing body being illegal and violative of the principles of natural justice, M.V. Muralidaran, J. has observed that the Government has power to dissolve the governing body of the Government College if any mismanagement is found, and there is no infirmity in constituting a fresh governing body. Further, the petitioners have no locus standi to question the impugned orders.
The Court noted that the petitioners were duly appointed as Chairman and Secretary of the NBC, a government aided college having a full-fledged governing body constituted under Manipur Education Code, 1982. As per the order dated 19.12.2016, the college was upgraded as a government aided college in pursuance of the State Cabinet decision and as per the order dated 5.6.2017, new governing body of the college was constituted for a period of three years or till implementation of Manipur Higher Education Code for aided college 2016. Further, some of the staff of the college complained to the Minister for Education regarding administrative failure, fund mismanagement against the Governing Body.
It further noted that in 2019, the Commissioner of Higher and Technical Education (HTE) issued an order dissolving the governing body of Naorem Birahari College (NBC) and constituted a caretaker governing body by Special Secretary of HTE, however, the new caretaker governing body was quashed by this Court and the present governing body was constituted heading the petitioners as Chairman and Secretary respectively.
The Court observed that from the impugned order dated 29.9.2021, it is clear that the governing body of NBC was dissolved and concurrently the grant-in-aid provided to the said College was withdrawn, resulting NBC reverting to the status of Private College. Therefore, the petitioners’ power and function as Chairman and Secretary of the governing body stood withdrawn with effect from 29.9.2021. It was also observed that the power and authority in issuing the order dated 29.9.2021 canvassed by the petitioners is not sustainable, as petitioners stated that the Commissioner (HTE), is not the competent authority to issue any order dissolving the governing body and such power vests with only the Director of University and Higher Education, but in the present case, the Deputy Secretary has passed the said order, not the Commissioner.
Moreover, on examination of the said order and all the facts and circumstances, the Court viewed that taking into consideration the serious internal conflicts amongst the governing body and the faculty members resulting in chaos and unwanted situations in the college, the Governor of Manipur was pleased to direct to dissolve the governing body by invoking the provisions provided under Rule 27(d) of the Manipur Education Code (MEC), 1982. Further, the Court took note of the inspection carried out before passing the said order and many gross mismanagements were found.
The Court further observed that, by taking note of this administration failure, fund mismanagement, financial indiscipline etc. by the governing body of NBC and to avoid further complicacies by saving the interest of the college, the student community and by enabling the college to function smoothly, it was decided to dissolve the governing body by invoking the provision of Rule 27(d) MEC, 1982, thus, the Court viewed no infirmity in the decision taken to dissolve the governing body by the authority.
The Court viewed that the claim of the petitioners that the dissolved governing body should have been revived automatically, is without any substance and not supported by any legal provision, being contrary to the provision of sub-section 27 Chapter XI Section IV of the Manipur Education Code, 1982, as the said provision clearly provides power of withdrawal of grant-in-aid status and for dissolving the governing body.
Thus, the Court observed that in case of gross mismanagement, the Government has the right to dissolve the existing governing body of the Government college, provided that a caretaker governing body is constituted, and since the order dated 29.9.2021 and the subsequent impugned orders were issued in the interest of public as well as the student community and the faculty members of the College, the Court cannot interfere by exercising jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. It was also held that there is no infirmity in constituting the caretaker governing body and the impugned order extending the period for another three months is not an arbitrary exercise and there is no need to interfere with it; and directed the respondent authorities to constitute a regular governing body of the college before 4.10.2022.
[Langpoklakpam Kamal Singh v. State of Manipur, 2022 SCC OnLine Mani 405, decided on 20.09.2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the Petitioners: Advocate Kh. Tarunkumar
For the Respondents: Advocate General Lenin Hijam,
Senior Advocate M. Hemchandra
Advocate Juno Rahman
Advocate Dr. RK Deepak
Advocate. Amarjeet Naorem