Education department issues notice to St Mary’s, St Xavier’s

Says it did not approve posts of school principals.

The school education department has cracked the whip on two renowned Jesuit institutions in south Mumbai. In a February 11 notice, it has said principals of St Mary's School (SSC) in Mazgaon and St Xavier's School in Dhobi Talao cannot continue as the department did not approve the posts.

The notice states there were several shortcomings in the proposal by the school managements for appointment of the principals.

Father Baptist Pinto, principal of St Mary's School, said, "We have received the notice and are seeking legal advice."

Despite several attempts, Jennifer Dias, principal of St Xavier's School, could not be reached. Father Pinto was principal of St Xavier's from 1998 to 2010, after which he was transferred to St Mary's. Dias, principal of St Mary's, was transferred to St Xavier's in 2010.

Nana Kute Patil of NGO Buland Chhava filed several complaints, which were investigated by the education department and appointment of Pinto and Dias through transfer was termed illegal.

"Both principals were facing charges of corruption as they had collected fees from students under heads that were not allowed by the education department. Instead of taking action against these two principals their posts were exchanged, which again is a violation," said Patil.

The education department said St Xavier's and St Mary's were run by different managements/trusts. According to the rule, in-house transfers can only be done in schools run by one management. The education department termed the appointments illegal and against the rule.

The school then moved Bombay High Court (HC) against the education department's order. The court directed the education inspector to take a decision on the appointment of the principal in accordance with law and communicate the same to the school management.

"We had already rejected the proposals of the managements of the two schools for appointing Pinto and Dias. The appointments were still done. However, the two cannot be allowed to continue as we have not approved their posts yet. The two cannot even sign official documents, including marksheets of students, as they are not the authorised signatories. We have sent them a notice based on the court's order and are awaiting a reply from the management," said Babasaheb Mane education inspector of south zone.

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