CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has rejected a plea from school teachers to restrain the government from terminating their services for not passing the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET).
The power of judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution cannot be exercised for purpose of granting exemption from acquiring the minimum educational qualifications prescribed under the National Education Policy, Justice S M Subramaniam said.
“In the event of granting such relief, the same would become a bad precedent and create an imbalance in following the uniform policy, resulting in violation of the Constitutional philosophies and ethos.”
The judge was dismissing the writ petitions from P Indira Gandhi and three others working in Kasthurba Gandhi Baliga Vidyalaya Residential School in Perungalathur in Tiruvannamalai district, challenging the proposal of the authorities concerned, to dismiss them from service for not getting through the TET within the stipulated time.
The judge pointed out that the government itself had given extension of time and already eight years had lapsed.
The judge pointed out that the government itself had given extension of time and already eight years had lapsed. There is no point in granting further extension of time. If the teachers are unable to pass the TET for the past many years, then no purpose would be served by granting further extension and the same would amount to abuse of the provisions of law and if such leniency is shown, the same will dilute and jeopardise the very National Education Policy and the tests and the object sought to be achieved under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act as well as the Regulations issued by the National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE), the judge said.
The judge, however, directed the authorities competent to initiate appropriate action under the Rules for discharging the teachers by issuing show cause notices (SCNs) after setting out the reasons. On receipt of the explanation from the teachers, appropriate orders shall be passed by invoking the relevant provisions of the Service Rules or Statute.
Granting exemption from possessing the minimum educational qualifications will not only set a wrong precedent, but also violate the equality clause enunciated in the Constitution.
Equal opportunity of public employment is to be interpreted that the implementation of minimum educational qualifications in respect of selected candidates is also an integral part.
In the event of allowing the unqualified persons to continue, then the same would violate the equality clause in providing opportunity to secure public employment in respect of the fully qualified candidates.
Thus, any such further extension or exemption is in violation of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution, the judge added and directed the authorities to pay the salary due to all the teachers for the period they had worked. They shall implement the minimum educational qualifications prescribed by the NCTE at the time of recruiting teachers itself.
The authorities shall issue the SCNs to all the unqualified teachers, setting out the reasons within two weeks, granting 10 days to them to submit their respective explanation and on receipt of the same, if any, speaking orders shall be issued by the competent authority strictly in accordance with the provisions of the Statutes, Service Rules, Regulations and GOs, whichever is applicable.
Tamil Nadu Teachers Association president P K Ilamaran said that affected teachers are discussing about appealing against the High Court judgment. “The government has provided false information by saying it has provided ample opportunities to teachers to clear TET. The exam should have been conducted 16 times in eight years but it was only conducted four times,” Ilamaran said.
No judicial review
The power of judicial review cannot be exercised to neutralise the provisions of the Enactment, wherein the minimum educational qualifications are prescribed to implement the National Education Policy
‘Enough time given to clear test’
The judge pointed out that the government itself had given extension of time and already eight years had lapsed. The judge, however, directed the authorities to pay the salary due to all the teachers for the period they had worked, within two weeks.