KOCHI: Coming down heavily on the state government, the Kerala High Court on Wednesday observed that the crisis on Plus-Two could have been averted had the government properly complied with the previous order of the Division Bench on July 10.
A Division Bench of the court had directed the state government to expedite allotment of Plus-Two schools in 148 grama panchayats which did not have HSSs to enable students to get admission this year itself. It had also asked the government to take up simultaneously the sanctioning of additional batches in schools in eight northern districts and directed the state to consider granting additional batches in schools in any other areas, if necessary, depending on the educational needs.
When the appeal filed by the government came up for hearing, a Division Bench comprising Justice Antony Dominic and Justice Dama Seshadri Naidu observed that state surpassed the earlier Division Bench order by appointing a Cabinet sub-committee and created a separate list.
The state did not challenge the earlier order so it has become final.
It observed that if the earlier order was implemented properly all these exercises could have been avoided.
Advocate-General K P Dandapani submitted that the government could not hand over all the files relating to the allotment of Plus-Two batches. It produced the proceedings of scrutiny committee and related files, instead of the files relating to the Cabinet subcommittee which would have revealed who recommended the schools not in the list of the committee. The AG further sought permission to produce the files including the suggestions of MLAs regarding schools in their locality. However, the Bench said that it did not want to see them.
The AG submitted that the government had not been given sufficient time by the single judge to file counter affidavit to substantiate its contention. Most of the cases were filed before the Single Judge seven days before passing the interim order. Several cases were filed on the day of consideration on August 14.
“In none of the cases, has a malafide been alleged against the officials or the government,” the state pointed out.
“The duties and the responsibilities expected from Cabinet committee was to scrutinise the recommendation made by the scrutiny committee headed by HSE director. The MLAs are more competent to identify the educational needs in their locality. The Council of Ministers and government are the supreme authority in relation to a scrutiny committee. The interim order would affect the admission of the future of students. The order was passed without hearing the affected schools. It would amount to denial of their rights to education, the state pointed out.
The petitioners submitted that there was sufficient time for the government to clear its stand before the Single Judge. The Single Judge had repeatedly asked the state regarding the suggestions of MLAs for granting Plus-Two, but it failed, they submitted.
The court adjourned the hearing of the case to Thursday.