Published on: 31 July 2023 at 11:45 IST
The Calcutta High Court, in a significant ruling, upheld the Constitutional validity of Section 10C of the West Bengal School Service Commission Act, 1997, which allows the transfer of teachers from one school to another.
The bench consisting of Justice Harish Tandon and Justice Prasenjit Biswas asserted that the transfer was carried out following the established legal procedure and does not infringe upon the fundamental right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The Court emphasized that the transfer of a teacher is a common occurrence in public employment and, when done in accordance with the law, does not violate their right to life.
The Court noted that the Contempt of Court Act, 1971 regulates contempt of court offenses, while the National Medical Commission Act, 2019, governs matters related to medical practitioners.
The case under consideration involved a challenge to the Constitutional validity of Section 10C of the WBSSC Act, which dealt with the transfer or placement of teachers from one school to another. The petitioners contended that the introduction of Section 10C altered their conditions of service to their disadvantage.
However, the Court dismissed these contentions, stating that there was no arbitrariness or unreasonableness in the impugned legislation. It highlighted that transfer provisions were integral to public employment and that Section 10C was introduced as a part of an amendment to rationalize the teacher-pupil ratio in the interest of education and public service.
The Court clarified that Section 10C was not retroactive and that the protection granted under Section 10 of the Act applied only to teachers appointed before the Act’s commencement.
Teachers appointed after the Act came into force could not claim immunity against transfers recommended by the Commission and authorized by the State.
Moreover, the Court emphasized that the legislation must be presumed to operate prospectively unless expressly intended to be retrospective. Teachers appointed after the enactment of the Act could not claim vested rights regarding their terms and conditions of service.
In conclusion, the Court upheld the Constitutional validity of Section 10C and stated that the right to life under Article 21 should be viewed dynamically and considered in light of principles of fairness, justness, and reasonableness.