Petitioner asked to exhaust the statutory remedies

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court observed that the power of judicial review of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution was to ensure the process through which a decision was taken by the competent authority was in consonance with the provisions of the statute or rules, and not the decision itself.

The court was hearing a petition filed by A. Thilakam of Pudukkottai district, who working as a teacher at a government-aided school. She was imposed with punishment which was due to certain personal vengeance and extraneous circumstances, she said and sought quashing of the order.

Justice S.M. Subramaniam observed that the High Court could not conduct an elaborate inquiry in respect of disputed facts, which were to be adjudicated with reference to documents and evidence. The scope of adjudication of disputed facts was limited and it could be done in extraordinary circumstances where it was possible to form an opinion.

The aggrieved person had to exhaust the statutory remedies provided under the Tamil Nadu Recognised Private Schools (Regulation) Act, 1973. It was clear that against the order passed by the original authority/school management, the first appeal was before the competent authority, and the second appeal was before the tribunal.

Jurisdictional Principal Sub-Courts were designated as tribunals for entertaining second appeals. In the present case, the first appeal was decided by the Joint Director of Elementary Education (Aided Schools). Under these circumstances, the petitioner had to approach the tribunal for the second appeal, the judge said.

The court transferred the petition to the Principal Sub-Court/Tribunal, Pudukkottai district. The tribunal was asked to dispose of the matter as expeditiously as possible. The court directed the High Court Registry to transfer all the papers pertaining to the case to the tribunal in two weeks.

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