School faces action over appointment of principal ‘past retirement age’
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In its January 14 order, the education department has asked the school to relieve Misquitta from the post with immediate effect or face action.
Misquitta told Newsline that he had not yet received an "official" copy of the order. He, however, said, "As far as I know, the rules and regulations for aided schools differ from those of ICSE and other non-SSC schools. The ICSE Council/Board has no rule about retirement age. I have personally verified this point." St Mary's is an ICSE school.
According to the school education department officials, the Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (MEPS) (Conditions of Service) Regulation Act, 1977 Section 3(1) is applicable to all private schools, including those following the CBSE, ICSE, IB or IGCSE board. According to this, an employee of a private school must retire after 58.
"According to this rule, norms and regulations stipulated by the state government will be applicable to all privates schools. The retirement age as per the rule is 58 years. However, the current age of Fr Kenneth Misquitta is 68 years. He was appointed by the school management in 2011 as the principal at the age of 66. This is a clear violation and so the appointment stands invalid," said Balasaheb Mane, the education inspector of south zone.
He added, "We have now directed the management to relieve Misquitta from the post of principal with immediate effect and also give a report of the same to the education department; however, failing which all the documents, whether official school documents or marksheets of students if signed by Misquitta, will be declared invalid and unacceptable."
Nana Kute Patil of Buland Chhawa, the NGO which filed the complaint, said, "Many non-state board schools are in the practice of appointing retired candidates at the post of principals. I had filed an RTI query on the same with 39 private non-state board schools. The very first information I got was from St Mary's school ICSE. I immediately reported the matter to the education department on December 26, 2012. The education department must immediately inspect other schools, too."
Misquitta claimed that several non-SSC schools have principals who are over 58, both in Maharastra and elsewhere.
"If this order is given only to me, there is likely to be some vested interest. I have been fortunate to have seen an unofficial copy of the order. At the bottom of it, a copy has been marked for Nana Kute Patil. Why has only he received a copy? How does he come into the picture of my appointment? I shall leave it to the management which has appointed me to seek legal recourse, if it wishes to," he said.