Weekly Legal Updates (6 August to 12 August 2023)

Weekly Legal Updates main objective is to update the legal knowledge of law students, lawyers, academicians and other professionals. If we do not update our legal knowledge regularly, our knowledge become redundant.

Supreme Court refuses to stop Bihar caste survey

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stop the Bihar government’s ongoing caste survey and said it will hear on August 14 a plea challenging the Patna High Court’s verdict upholding the validity of the caste survey.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared for the petitioner and said he wanted a pause in the caste survey, which is ongoing.

To this, Justice Khanna replied, “Let the survey continue for some time. If it has completed 80 per cent, let it reach 90 per cent.”

“We will hear this plea in detail on Monday, August 14,” he said.

On August 1, the Patna High Court dismissed all petitions challenging the conduct of a caste survey in Bihar by the state government.

The caste survey in Bihar was slated to be carried out in two phases.

The first phase, under which a household counting exercise was taken up, was conducted by the state government in January this year.

On April 15, the second phase of the survey commenced, focusing on gathering data related to people’s caste and socio-economic conditions.

The entire process was planned to be completed by May this year. However, on May 4, the high court had paused the caste census.

The Bihar government will spend Rs 500 crore from its contingency fund for the exercise.

(Courtesy:- India Today, 7 August 2023)

Petition in Supreme Court against Gurugram mahapanchayat’s call for economic boycott

Two days after a Gurugram mahapanchayat gave a call for the economic boycott of Muslims, a petition filed in the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday sought the court’s intervention in the matter.

Senior counsel Kapil Sibal mentioned the matter before a Constitution Bench, led by CJI DY Chandrachud, which is hearing petitions challenging the nullification of Article 370 of the Constitution.

“There is a very serious thing that has happened in Gurugram… There is a call to say that if you employ these people in shops, you will all be ‘gaddars’. This is creating problems… We have filed an urgent petition,” Sibal told the Bench just before the lunch break.

“Your Lordship may look at lunchtime,” Sibal said. Hundreds of residents of Gurugram villages gathered at Tighara for the Hindu mahapanchayat on Sunday and called for an economic boycott of Muslims.

The mahapanchayat – which was called to oppose the police crackdown on village youths for communal violence in Gurugram, including the torching of a mosque and the murder of an Imam – ended up giving a call for the boycott of Muslim shops and denying them houses and shops on rent.

It had even demanded the dissolution of Nuh as a district and division of its villages into districts of Gurugram, Faridabad, Palwal and Rewari. They said the district should be handed over to Uttar Pradesh, as they claimed Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath would “set them right”.

The mahapanchayat also gave a week’s ultimatum to the police to release all those arrested, failing which they threatened to bring Gurugram to a halt.

Accusing the Gurugram police of witch-hunting, residents of Tighra village claimed that the police tried to cover up their Intelligence and action failure by making hasty bulk arrests without investigation.

“In Nuh, they could not identify the rioters for days and here within an hour of the incident, they had names and addresses of our boys,” they said.

(Courtesy:- The Tribune, 8 August 2023)

Supreme Court questions own order in Bilkis Bano case

The Supreme Court on Tuesday raised doubts over its own order of May 13, 2022, which directed the Gujarat government to consider the premature release plea of one of the convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case, and wondered if the convict’s petition was legally maintainable at all.

A bench of justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan made pointed queries on how a writ petition was entertained by the Supreme Court at the instance of the convict, Radheyshyam Bhagwandas Shah, after the Gujarat high court turned down his prayer for directing the Gujarat government to decide his remission plea.

According to the bench, after the Gujarat high court’s refusal in July 2019, Shah was required under the law to challenge the impugned order in appeal before the Supreme Court, instead of filing a writ petition. However, the top court not only admitted his writ petition but also directed the Gujarat government to decide his remission plea, noted the bench.

“Is there any challenge to the Gujarat high court order? If not, then how did this court get jurisdiction to set aside the July 2019 order?” asked the court, as it heard Bano’s petition challenging the remission granted to 11 convicts in by the Gujarat government in August last year.

It also questioned the Gujarat government’s lawyer if the issue of maintainability of Shah’s petition was raised by the state before the apex court before an order was passed in May, allowing the Gujarat government to consider the remission plea of the convicts under the 1992 policy.

Soon after the Supreme Court order in May, Shah and 10 other convicts moved for premature release and the Gujarat government freed the 11 men, convicted of gang-rape and murdering Bano’s family during the 2002 communal riots in the state.

The court’s bewilderment arose from the fact that the May 2022 order became the basis for the Gujarat government to release all the 11 convicts but there were no answers coming to the fore as to how a petition evidently challenging a high court order was entertained by the Supreme Court as a writ petition.

It further pointed out that Shah, following the Gujarat high court order in July 2019, approached the Maharashtra government too with his remission plea since the trial was conducted in that state. The trial of this sensitive case was shifted by the Supreme Court to a Mumbai court, which convicted all 11 persons and sentenced them to life imprisonment in January 2008.

But even before the Maharashtra government could take a call on it, the bench noted, Shah approached the Supreme Court by filing a writ petition and got an order that the Gujarat government could instead decide his remission plea under the 1992 policy – the one prevalent on the date of the conviction. While the existing remission policy of 2014 of the Gujarat government prohibits early release of rape convicts, no such restrictions were part of the 1992 policy.

“Did you oppose this writ petition. He had gone to the Gujarat high court and acted upon the order of the high court by filing for premature release in Maharashtra on August 1, 2019. How was his writ petition entertained by this court? Did not the Gujarat government mention that his writ is not maintainable as he has already accepted remedy under Article 226 (high court’s writ jurisdiction)?” the bench asked additional solicitor general (ASG) SV Raju, representing Gujarat.

It further the ASG that why the state chose not to file a review petition against the Supreme Court’s May 2022 order when its stand before the Gujarat high court had been that the Maharashtra government was the appropriate authority to consider the remission pleas since the trial was conducted there. Raju, on his part, said that he would make an endeavour to answer the court’s queries in his turn to argue.

However, advocate Shobha Gupta, who appeared for Bano, concurred with the court, saying Shah’s only remedy under the law was to file a special leave petition against the Gujarat high court order. “Judicial order cannot be knocked off in an Article 32 petition (Supreme Court’s writ jurisdiction). The only remedy was to file a special leave petition. I have gone through Shah’s petition. He did not challenge the Gujarat high court order. Yet, the final judgment has been set aside,” she complained.

At one point, Gupta submitted that “public outcry” should also be a consideration for the court to consider validity of a remission order as this case saw massive protests in the country. But the bench retorted: “Public outcry will not impact our judicial conscience. We will consider only legal submissions.”

Bano was 21, and five months’ pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the violence during the 2002 riots, and her three-year-old daughter was one of the seven people killed.

The 11 men convicted of the crimes against her and her family were released on August 15, 2022, after one of them, Shah, approached the Supreme Court in April 2022 seeking remission, arguing that he had spent over 15 years in prison. By an order in May 2022, a bench led by justice Ajay Rastogi (since retired) directed the Gujarat government to consider the convicts’ plea for premature release in accordance with the 1992 policy.

As their release sparked public outrage, several PILs were filed in the Supreme Court by Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, former CPI member MP Subhashini Ali, among others, in August 2022. Later, in November 2022, Bano also approached the Supreme Court against the Gujarat government’s decision to allow the 11 men to walk out of jail.

(Courtesy:- Hindustan Times, 9 August 2023)

Rape accused must be protected against possibility of false implication: Supreme Court

While rape causes the greatest distress and humiliation to a victim, a false allegation can cause equal distress, humiliation and damage to the accused and he must be protected against such implication, the Supreme Court has said.

A bench of justices B R Gavai and J B Pardiwala said when an accused approaches court for quashing FIR on the ground that such proceedings are manifestly frivolous or vexatious, then in such circumstances the court owes a duty to look into the FIR with care and a little more closely.

“It cannot be lost sight of that rape causes the greatest distress and humiliation to the victim but at the same time a false allegation of rape can cause equal distress, humiliation and damage to the accused as well. The accused must also be protected against the possibility of false implication, particularly where a large number of accused are involved,” the bench said.

The top court said once the complainant in a rape case decides to proceed against the accused with an ulterior motive for wreaking personal vengeance, etc., then he would ensure that the FIR/complaint is very well drafted with all the necessary pleadings.

“The complainant would ensure that the averments made in the FIR/complaint are such that they disclose the necessary ingredients to constitute the alleged offence.

“Therefore, it will not be just enough for the Court to look into the averments made in the FIR/complaint alone for the purpose of ascertaining whether the necessary ingredients to constitute the alleged offence are disclosed or not,” the bench said.

The apex court said in frivolous or vexatious proceedings, the Court owes a duty to look into many other attending circumstances emerging from the record of the case over and above the averments and, if need be, with due care and circumspection try to read in between the lines.

“The Court while exercising its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the CrPC or Article 226 of the Constitution need not restrict itself only to the stage of a case but is empowered to take into account the overall circumstances leading to the initiation/registration of the case as well as the materials collected in the course of investigation,” the bench said.

The observation came while setting aside an order of the Allahabad high court quashing a rape and criminal intimidation case against an accused registered at Police Station Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district.

The apex court said that in the entire FIR there is not a whisper of any allegation of rape or criminal intimidation against the accused and he has been targeted.

“The appellant has been shown as a history sheeter. If the FIR does not disclose anything against the appellant and even at the end of the investigation, if nothing incriminating has surfaced against the appellant herein, then the continuation of the criminal proceedings against the appellant herein would be nothing but gross abuse of the process of law,” the bench said.

(Courtesy:- The Tribune, 9 August 2023)

Government moves Bill to change SC order on appointment of CEC, ECs

The Centre has moved a Bill in Rajya Sabha to change the Supreme Court Constitution bench judgment on appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners. The Bill states that the Selection Committee to appoint the CEC and the ECs will comprise the Prime Minister, the leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha and a Cabinet minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.

The Bill was introduced amid an uproar by the opposition parties, including the Congress and AAP that accused the government of “diluting and overturning” a Constitution bench order. The top
court had in March 2023 said that the appointment of the CEC and ECs shall be done by the President on recommendation of Committee of PM, LoP and the Chief Justice of India. The court had tried to insulate the appointments from the Executive’s interference.

The proposed Bill also states that the appointment of the CEC or the ECs will not be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy in the selection committee or any defect in the constitution of the selection committee. A vacancy will arise in the poll panel early next year when Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey demits office on February 14 on attaining the age of 65 years. His retirement will come just days before the likely announcement of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls’ scheduled by the Election Commission. On the past two occasions, the commission had announced parliamentary polls in March.

The opposition has reacted strongly to the government’s move.

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala called it a ‘Black Day’ for Indian Democracy and said Modi
government is trying to reconstitute ‘Election Commission of India’ as ‘Modi Election Commission’!
“As we objected to the brazen assault on India’s Democracy and bulldozing of the Constitutional independence of ECI, the Bill was deliberately introduced in the din, bypassing all sense of Parliamentary procedures and Constitutional propriety,” Surjewala tweeted.

“Facing imminent defeat in the 5 election going states as also the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, The Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service And Term of Office) Bill, 2023 is a sinister ploy to hijack Democracy, by constituting a puppet ‘Modi Election Commission’,” he alleged and said ECI will now be among the last Constitutional institutions to fall at the altar of usurpation of power by any or all means by an autocrat Prime Minister.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said he has always maintained that the government will overturn any Supreme Court order that it doesn’t like and this is a dangerous situation that can impact fairness of elections.

The proposed panel will have two BJP members and one from the Congress, and therefore, whoever is selected to the poll panel will be loyal to the ruling party, alleged Kejriwal, who is also Aam Aadmi Party’s national convener.

Congress general secretary organisation K C Venugopal hit out at the government over the bill, calling it a “blatant attempt at making the Election Commission a total puppet in the hands of the prime minister (Narendra Modi)”.

“What about the Supreme Court’s existing ruling which requires an impartial panel? Why does the Prime Minister feel the need to appoint a biased Election Commissioner? This is an unconstitutional, arbitrary and unfair Bill – we will oppose this on every forum,” Venugopal said on social media platform ‘X’. Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan said that even if the bill is passed in Parliament, it would be “unconstitutional” in his view and it was likely to be struck down by the Supreme Court.

(Courtesy:- The Times of India, 10 August 2023)

Now, get an online pass to enter Supreme Court premises

Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud on Thursday announced the launch of ‘SuSwagatam’, the Supreme Court’s new initiative for generating entry passes online, to help those who need to visit the court premises for official or case-related purposes.

The CJI, who is presiding over a five-judge bench that has been hearing petitions challenging the changes made to Article 370 of the Constitution, made the announcement before the bench started proceedings for the day.

“All passes are generated online. So you will not have to stand in a queue in the mornings,” thereby eliminating the need for physical entry passes, he said. “This is a facility being made available from this morning,” CJI Chandrachud added.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said this was a major concern given that every day there is a long line before the counter in the Supreme Court premises issuing physical entry passes.

Agreeing, the CJI said, “Now, one can apply for a pass the previous evening or whenever you want by logging in for that particular day… Somebody who wants to meet somebody in the Registry will also get a pass generated. And the moment the person comes to the security counter, the entire details of the pass are reflected for the CISF personnel who are guarding the establishment.”

“We have called it SuSwagatam… Su stands for Supreme Court,” the CJI pointed out.

CJI Chandrachud then read out a statement on the new scheme. SuSwagatam is a web-based and mobile-friendly application that allows users to register themselves online and request e-passes for various purposes such as attending court hearings, meeting advocates or visiting officers or departments or the press lounge, he said.

“Users can choose from different validity periods such as daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on their needs and police clearance certificates. The portal also provides role-based secure login for different types of users such as advocates, litigants, law clerks, contractual staff, third-party agencies and visitors,” CJI Chandrachud added.

Users can upload their proof of identity and capture their live photos during the registration process. They can also receive broadcast messages for important announcements or special arrangements. The ‘ePasses’ are delivered to users through email and the SuSwagatam portal, the CJI said. Users can scan the QR code at the entry and exit gates of the court premises. The portal also generates statistics on the number of ‘ePasses’ issued and used, he added.

“The SuSwagatam portal was used as a pilot project since July 25, 2023, and has received positive feedback from the users. As of August 9, 2023, more than 10,000 ePasses have been issued through the portal as a pilot,” CJI Chandrachud said, adding that the Supreme Court of India hoped that the portal would enhance the convenience and efficiency of court operations and services.

The CJI also said that there is a video tutorial on how to go about generating the ‘ePass’ and that lawyers who need help registering can approach the eSewa Kendra.

Welcoming the move, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said, “The entire nation will be grateful.”

“Before we got access cards, we used to come at 9 am to stand in the queue so that by 10.30 am, we would get the pass and enter,” Mehta said, adding that “this was some 12-13 years back”. The situation, he said, continues to this day.

(Courtesy:- The Indian Express, 10 August 2023)

Article 370 hearing: Constitution of J&K cannot limit Indian Constitution, says SC

The powers and provisions of the Constitution of India cannot be circumscribed by the erstwhile Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir, the Supreme Court observed on Wednesday as it continued hearing a challenge to the August 2019 abrogation of Article 370 and the revocation of special status to Jammu & Kashmir.

Stressing that the Indian Constitution is the only Constitution for the entirety of the country, including J&K which acceded to India in October 1947, the five-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud pointed out that there are no express fetters on the powers of the Indian Constitution though the J&K Constitution wrested residuary powers with the J&K legislative assembly.

On the fourth day of the arguments in a clutch of petitions challenging the 2019 nullification of Article 370, the bench delved into a comparative analysis of the constitutions of India and J&K, and a discussion whether Article 370 was a permanent link between the two that could not have been snapped without the concurrence of the J&K assembly. One of the arguments raised by one of the petitioners on Wednesday was that it was only for the Constituent Assembly of J&K to legally annul Article 370 and that it could not have been done by unilaterally using the provisions of the Indian Constitution.

Also comprising justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai and Surya Kant, the Constitution bench observed that the Indian Constitution never engrafted or explicitly brought the J&K Constitution within its fold while the latter adopted the Indian Constitution, though with certain caveats.

“While our Constitution did talk about the J&K Constituent Assembly, but after January 26, 1957 (when J&K Constitution came into force), it doesn’t talk about the J&K Constitution at all. Our Constitution talks of only one Constitution, namely the Constitution of India… the Constitution of India as it applies to J&K subject to certain modifications. Therefore, the only compact or basic document that is within the contemplation of the Constitution of India is this Constitution itself,” it said.

The court continued: “You may call it J&K Constitution but what was adopted in 1957 was the Indian Constitution with certain exceptions and modifications… Article 370, by its very nature, is very flexible. Normally, constitutions are flexible with time and space because they’re made once but they last for long times. Article 370 itself says that J&K Constitution should assimilate what is applicable in other parts of the country.”

On his part, senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who represents a J&K resident in the case, argued that it was not imperative for the Indian Constitution to recognise or mention J&K Constitution since the latter was framed at a later point in time and further that it was meant for a specific state.

Responding, the bench asked him: “Why post 1957 either J&K government or its assembly, or Parliament never thought of amending the Indian Constitution to bring the J&K Constitution within its fold? J&K Constitution says that the residuary powers will be vested with the J&K legislature. That is a clear fetter on the executive powers of the Union as well as on the legislative powers of an organ of the Union, namely Parliament. So, was it not required for the Indian Constitution to recognise J&K Constitution because after 1957, this was the only Constitution for the whole of India, including J&K?”

To this, Subramanium referred to the Constitutional Order of 1954 which applied most provisions of the Indian Constitution to J&K while carving out certain “volitional” areas where the concurrence of J& assembly was a prerequisite.

“That’s the problem, Mr Subramanium. As you rightly said these were volitional carve-outs and the Union issued those orders. Unless there is some higher precept which prevents them from modifying such carve outs, what is there to restrain the Union from modifying the terms of those carve outs? It cannot be that J&K Constitution will be made a part of our Constitution to impose fetters on our Constitution,” retorted the bench.

Emphasising on the “concept of polarity” and “federalism” as the basis architecture of Article 370, Subramanium contended that the third clause of Article 370 could not have been invoked to abrogate the provision because Article 356 (imposition of President’s Rule) never envisaged that Parliament could substitute itself for J&K assembly and grant its concurrence to end the special status of the state.

The bench, however, told the senior counsel that if the central government is able to show in law that no such restraint could be imposed on its while President’s Rule is in force, they will be decidedly within jurisdiction to do what they did in annulling Article 370.

“During the time when Article 356 is in operation, if they can show their powers were not circumscribed to invoke 356(d) (2), in that event the Union was clearly within its power (to abrogate Article 370). When Article 356 is in operation, all the executive powers of the state are assumed by the Union. Who issued an ordinance in a state? Can the President not issue an ordinance if an urgent situation arises?” it asked.

Subramanium concluded his arguments during the day, and senior counsel Zafar Shah commenced his submissions on behalf of the Srinagar Bar Association. Shah argued that the Instrument of Accession, signed by the Maharaja of J&K with India in October 1947, was akin to an action of the state shaking hands but not embracing India. Shah will resume his submissions on Thursday.

A raft of petitions, filed by parliamentarians from the National Conference party, Kashmiri citizens, former bureaucrats and various organisations laid the challenge to the abrogation of Article 370 soon after the presidential order in August 2019.

While some petitioners brought up the requirement of consent from the Constituent Assembly for the abrogation of Article 370, others questioned the validity of the President’s Rule that was in effect when the abrogation was made. A few of these pleas went back to the Instrument of Accession, while some highlighted the Supreme Court’s ruling of 2018 that observed that Article 370 had gained a status of permanence. Many of these pleas also challenged the Jammu & Kashmir State Reorganisation Act, by which the state was bifurcated into two Union territories with effect from October 30, 2019.

On August 28, 2019, the Supreme Court issued notices on the pleas despite resistance from the central government, which argued that Article 370 had international and cross-border implications.

On July 3, the Supreme Court notified the setting up of a new Constitution bench, comprising its first five judges. A week later, the new bench directed that day-to-day hearing in the case would begin from August 2.

(Courtesy:- Hindustan Times, 10 August 2023)

75% cut-off marks for sports quota seat in college is unconstitutional, rules SC

The Supreme Court has struck down a university rule that required students aspiring to get admission under the sports quota to secure a minimum of 75% marks.

“The objective of introducing sports quota is not to accommodate academic merit, but something altogether different – promotion of sports in the institution, the university, and ultimately, in the country,” a bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and Aravind Kumar said in its verdict on Wednesday, holding the rule notified by Punjab Engineering College, a deemed to be university, as unconstitutional.

The bench said universities were the “nurseries or catchment for sportspersons” who can represent the country in state, national and international as well as Olympic sports. “The imposition of the minimum 75% eligibility condition, therefore, does not subserve the object of introducing the sports quota, but is, rather destructive of it.”

The top court held this criterion to be violative of the right to equality protected under Article 14 of the Constitution and said such a condition “would tend to exclude meritorious sportspersons and place the less (academically) meritorious sportspersons at a disadvantageous position.”

The court reasoned that the rule would exclude sportspersons who may have won an Olympic medal if another sportsperson who has never reached even the national level, secures 80% marks in the qualifying examination.

“It is exactly this consequence which this court had warned would be the “unequal application” of a uniform criterion, a wooden equality without regard to the inherent differences, which Article 14 frowns upon, and forbids,” the bench said.

The order came on a petition filed by one Dev Gupta who did not secure 75% marks in the Class 12 examination and failed to get through the 2% sports quota in the engineering course offered by PEC University of Technology at Chandigarh.

The university had received 34 applications for the 17 sports quota seats. Of the 34, 28 fulfilled the 75% cutoff yardstick and admissions against 16 seats were finalised. The court on Tuesday directed the university not to fill the last vacant seat pending the final order.

Without disturbing the admissions already made, the top court allowed the petitioner and five others who failed to qualify to be considered against the lone unfilled seat and directed the university to complete the admission within two weeks.

Senior advocate PS Patwalia who appeared for the petitioner student told the court that in the previous years, the same university admitted students under sports quota on the requirement that the candidate must be a “10+2 pass”.

This was also in line with the 2023 sports policy introduced by Chandigarh administration to pass the qualifying examination or to have studied in Chandigarh for the preceding two years.

The court wondered that if students applying under the reserved category seats could get a 10% exemption of qualifying with 65% cutoff, what prevented the state from lowering the criteria for sports quota as well. “The dissimilarity in treatment is therefore, egregious…It is held that exclusion of the petitioner and other like candidates on the ground of their securing less than 75% in the qualifying examination, was unwarranted and discriminatory. The reference to, and incorporation of clauses giving effect to such criterion is held unenforceable and void.”

(Courtesy:- Hindustan Times, 10 August 2023)

B Ed as qualification for primary education arbitrary, unreasonable: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has held that the central government’s decision to include B Ed as a qualification
for primary school teachers is “arbitrary” and “unreasonable”. The court also declared that the
decision had no congruity with the Right to Education Act, meant to provide children not only free and compulsory but also ‘quality’ education.

“B Ed is not a qualification for teaching at primary level of classes, much less a better or higher qualification, in context of primary classes. This finding is self-evident in the very admission of the NCTE which mandates that all B Ed qualified teachers who are appointed to teach primary level classes must mandatorily undergo a pedagogical course for elementary classes within two years of
their appointment,” a bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia said.

The top court then quashed the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) notification issued on
June 28, 2018 to include B Ed as qualification for teachers for primary education.

The NCTE is a statutory body with the mandate to achieve planned and coordinated development of
teacher education and govern and maintain its norms.

Acting on clutch of writ petitions and appeals against the Rajasthan High Court’s order, the bench said by including B Ed as a qualification for teachers for primary school education, the central government has acted against the provisions of the Constitution and extant laws.

The bench said the pedagogical skills of a teacher must be given a very high priority.
“But our priority seems to be different. It is not to impart ‘quality’ education, but to provide more job
avenues to B Ed trained candidates, as this seems to be the only reason for their inclusion, in presence of overwhelming evidence that B Ed course is not a suitable course for primary classes,” the bench said.

The bench pointed out the only logic given by the central government is that it is a ‘higher

Even if presumed that it is a policy decision, this is not correct, the bench said.
“In fact, it goes against the letter and spirit of the fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution
under Article 21A. It is against the specific mandate of the Act, which calls for a free, compulsory and
meaningful primary education to children,” the bench added.

The court further held that the direction of the central government dated May 30, 2018 culminating in the notification of June 28, 2018 of NCTE is also procedurally flawed.

The decision should have been taken after proper study by the academic body i.e. NCTE, it said.

The bench also pointed out the inclusion of B Ed candidates for primary classes is in the teeth of
several decisions of this court, which has consistently held that Diploma in Elementary Education (D
El Ed) and not B Ed, is the proper qualification in primary schools.

(Courtesy:- Deccan Herald, 12 August 2023)

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