NCTE'S 2011 notification for giving weightage to TET marks not mandatory: Supreme Court

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New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday has said that the 2011 NCTE notification for giving weightage to marks obtained in teachers eligibility test(TET) in appointments was not mandatory and was just a guideline which will be applicable for recruiting contractual teachers in Uttar Pradesh.

The contractual teachers, popular as shiksha mitra, have challenged the order of the Allahabad High Court by which it has quashed the Uttar Pradesh Basic Education (Teachers) Service (16th Amendment) Rules, 2012, saying these were in conflict with National Council of Teachers Education (NCTE) notification.

Setting aside the high court finding, the apex court held that the state government rules of 2012, were not in conflict with the NCTE notification of February 11, 2011.

A bench comprising justices Adarsh Goel and U U Lalit allowed a batch of appeals filed by various groups of teachers and individuals and gave liberty to state to proceed according to law with regard to appoint of teachers to junior basic schools.

Relying on an earlier judgement of apex court rendered in 2013, the bench said that it has already been held that that "weightage to the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) marks was not mandatory and the State rules, not being in conflict with the norms laid down by the NCTE, may not be held to be void on the ground of repugnancy".

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It said "we find that there is no conflict in the notification issued by the central government and the amendment to the State Rules since the notification dated February 11, 2011 to the extent of suggesting weightage to TET marks can be held to be merely a guideline".

During the hearing, the NCTE has taken a stand that its notification suggesting weightage to TET marks was not mandatory.

However, the original petitioners have supported the judgement of high court, by contending that since the issue is covered by Entry 25 List III of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, any standard laid down by the Centre will bind the State and any conflicting decision of the State will be unconstitutional.

The Uttar Pradesh government had also contended that there was no conflict in the notifications issued by the NCTE and the amendment in the State Rules.

It had said that the jurisdiction of the NCTE was limited only to laying down of qualification as a condition for appointment only but it does not regulate the selection process.

The high court had on December 1, 2016, quashed the UP Basic Education (Teachers) Service (16th Amendment) Rules, 2012 on the ground that the said amendment was in conflict with the notification dated February 11, 2011 issued by the National Council of Teachers Education (NCTE).

The Uttar Pradesh Basic Education (Teachers) Service Rules, 1981, were framed for determining the qualification for appointment of teachers for primary schools and their service conditions.

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The qualification prescribed bachelors degree together with the training qualification (Basic Teachers Certificate (BTC), Hindustani Teachers Certificate, Junior Teachers Certificate, Certificate of Teaching or any other training course) recognised by the government as equivalent thereto.

In 2009, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act), was enacted to regulate elementary education and also to deals with the qualification for appointment of teachers under Act.

The NCTE in its notification in 2010 has laid down qualification by which TET is the essential qualification prescribed under the said notification.

However, in further notification/guidelines issued on February 11, 2011 provided that in the process of appointment of teachers, weightage has to be given to the marks obtained in TET examination.

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