S. Nainar Sundaram, J.
1. The petitioner was functioning as a tutor in the department of Tamil in Saraswathi Narayna College, Perungudi, Madurai, of which the first respondent is the secretary. By order, dated 5th December, 1977, which was preceded by the formality of an enquiry, the first respondent, on the charges held to have been proved, imposed on the petitioner the punishment of withholding the increment for three years commencing from June, 1975. The petitioner preferred an appeal under Section 20 of the Tamil Nadu Private 'Colleges (Regulation) Act XIX of 1976, hereinafter referred to as the Act which came to be dealt; with by the third respondent. The third respondent, on this : appeal, which is a statutory one, passed order on 17th April, 1969, perfunctorily in the following terms-
With reference to his appeal first cited, Thiru P. Ponkailasam is informed that his request is not feasible of compliance.
This writ petition is filed, 'Seeking the issue of a writ of certiorari to quash the order passed by the first respondent, dated, 5th December, 1977 which has been confirmed by the third respondent on 17th April, 1979, as stated above.
2. Mr. P. Shanmugham, learned Counsel for the petitioner, states that he 'has got very many grounds to urge coveting interference-in writ jurisdiction, but he would confine himself to one ground which, according to the learned Counsel, has to weigh with this Court very strongly Learned Counsel expatiates this ground by stating that the third respondent was functioning as a statutory Appellate Authority and the order passed by him on 17th April, 1979, is a non-speaking order, the third respondent being vested with quasi-judicial powers, cannot pass such perfunctory and non-speaking order and it cannot be upheld and such order must be held to be a negation of the rule of law. There is considerable force in the submission of the learned Counsel It is well-settled that the rule requiring reasons to be given in support of an order, be it so an appellate order, is equated to the principle of audi alteram partem-a basic principle of natural justice which must in-from every quasi-judicial process and this rule must be observed the proper spirit and a mere pretence of compliance with it would not satisfy the requirement of law.
3. Chapter VII of the Act sets forth the general provisions regarding appeal and revision. Section 39 of the Act, occurring in Chapter VII thereof, while prescribing the time for appeal, delineates the powers of the Appellate Authority and the said section reads as follows-
39 (1). No appeal under any provision of this Act shall be preferred after the expiry of one month from the date on which the order, decision or direction appealed against, was received by the appellant:
Provided that the Appellate Authority may, in its discretion, allow further time not exceeding one month for preferring any such appeal if it is satisfied that the appellant had sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal in time.
(2) On receipt of any such appeal, the Appellate Authority shall, after-
(i) giving the parties an opportunity of making their representations;
(ii) making, if necessary, such inquiry as it deems fit, and
(iii) considering all the circumstances of the case, make such order as it deems just and equitable.
(3) The Appellate Authority may, pending the exercise of its power, pass such interlocutory orders as it deems fit.
(4) Every appeal under this Act shall be disposed of as expeditiously as possible.
Even a bare reading of the said provision clearly makes out that it adumbrated the quasi-judicial process to be followed by the appellate authority. It contemplates the Appellate Authority giving the parties an opportunity of making their representations. The Appellate Authority can make, if necessary such inquiry as it deems fit. The Appellate Authority shall consider all the circumstances of the case. Then only, it can make such order as it deems just and equitable. The Appellate Authority has got power, pending the disposal of the appeal, to pass such interlocutory orders as it deems fit. There is a duty enjoined upon the Appellate Authority to dispose of the appeal as expeditiously as possible. It is no answer to state that all relevant considerations must have weighed with the Appellate Authority and in the said circumstances, the lack of reasons expressed in the order of the Appellate Authority will not vitiate the said order. Recording of reasons in support of the decision by the Appellate Authority who, in fact, exercises a quasi-judicial function is obligatory since it ensures that the decisions has been reached by such Appellate Authority after probing into the matter as he is duty bound to do, and his decision is not the result of arbitrariness : or caprice, or whim or fancy, or reached on a ground of policy or expediency. If this rule is applied, I find that there is no escape for the order of the third respondent from getting quashed in writ jurisdiction. This obliges me to interfere in writ proceedings. Accordingly, this writ petition is allowed to the limited extent that the order of the third respondent dated 17th April, 1979, is quashed and the appeal in question will stand remitted' back to him for fresh consideration in accordance with law and keeping in mind the observations made above and the provisions of the Act. No costs.
4. The matter is sufficiently old and it relates to the service conditions of the petitioner, and the third respondent would do well to dispose of the appeal as expeditiously as possible and in any 'event, before the lapse of three months from the date of receipt 'of a copy of this order.