Supreme Court Of India

Allowing the appeal, the Court HELD: 1.1. The approach adopted by the Single Judge in this case is against the settled principle of law. Law is consistent and clear that the Single Judge of the High Court is bound by the decision of the Division Bench. In view of the clear findings of the Division Bench of the same High Court, the Single Judge of the same High Court could not take a contrary view. The Single Judge was bound by the judgment of the Division Bench of the said High Court. [827-D; 833-A] 1.2. It is not in dispute that the appellant-institution established and administered by the Jain Community is recognized as minority by the State Government from the date of its establishment continuously for 25 years and the said benefit could not be nullified by the Single Judge who had ignored the specific finding of the Division Bench. [833-B] 2. Jain religion indisputably is not a part of Hindu religion. The question as to whether Jains are part of the Hindu religion is open to debate. Jains have a right to establish and administer their own institutions. But, only because an institution is managed by a person belonging to a particular religion, the same would not ipso facto make the institution determinable by reference to the demography of a State. Whether an institution is established and administered by a minority community or not may have to be determined by the appropriate authority in terms of the provisions of the statute governing the field. Furthermore, minority institutions are not immune from the operations of the measures necessary to regulate their functions. To what extent such regulations would operate, however, again is a matter which would be governed by the statute. [838-A-D] The Commissioner Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras v. Sri Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar of Sri Shirur Mutt, AIR (1954) SC 282, In Re: Kerala Education Bill, (1957) AIR 1958 SC 956, Gateppa v. Eramma, AIR (1927) Mad 228, Hirachand Gangji v. Rowji Sojpal, AIR (1939) Bom 377, Aldo Maria Patroni v. E.C. Kesavan, AIR (1965) Ker 75, Commissioner of Wealth Tax, West Bengal v. Smt. Champa Kumari Singhi, AIR (1968) Cal 74, Arya Samaj Education Trust, Delhi v. The Director of Education, Delhi Administration, Delhi, AIR (1976) Del 207, D.A.V. College, Jullundur v. State of Punjab, AIR (1971) SC 1737, A.M. Jain College v. Government of Tamil Nadu, (1993) 1 MLJ 140 and St. Stephen's College v. University of Delhi, [1992] 1 SCC 558, referred to. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan: "Indian Philosophy" Vol. I, Jawahar Lal Nehru: "Discovery of India", Dr. Jyoti Prasad Jain: "Jainism - The Oldest Living Religion", G.T. Bettany: "The Encyclopaedia of World Religions", Encyclopedia Britannica, Dr. S. Radhakrihnan: "The Cultural Heritage of India, 6th Vol. and Dr. Raj Bali Pandey; "Hindu Dharam Kosh", referred to. 3. Minority communities do not have any higher rights than the majority, They have merely been conferred additional protection. [838-D] P.A. Inamdar v. State of Maharashtra, [2005] 6 SCC 537, followed. Bal Patil v. Union of India, [2005] 6 SCC 690, referred to. 4. In the instant case, the State at one point of time accepted the school in question as having been established and administered by the Jain community which is a minority community in the State. It was recognized as such by reason of a Division Bench Judgment of the High Court. There was, thus, no reason for the authorities of the respondents to take steps in relation to the self-same institution in a different manner. [839-g, h; 840-a] 5. Indisputably, under the Uttar Pradesh Recognized Basic School (Recruitment and Conditions of Service of Teachers and Other Conditions) Rules, 1975 governing the field, prior approval of the District Basic Education Officer was not necessary before terminating the services of a teacher. As the appellant's institution was recognized as a minority institution, the High Court was not correct in interfering in the manner it did. [840-b] R.B. Mehrotra and Rajesh for the Appellant. Shobha Dikshit, Subodh Markandeya, Mohd. Tahir Siddiqui, F.K. Jha, Indu Misra, Chitra Markandeya, Vibha Arora and Bhishmendra Pratap Singh Shakya for the Respondents.