Thursday, July 15, 2010

Government cannot direct minority institutions to employ SC/ST teachers: Supreme Court

In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court has ruled that governments cannot force the reservation policy on minority educational institutions, including those getting grant-in-aid, and ask them to appoint teachers from the SC and ST communities. A bench comprising justices B. S. Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar gave this ruling while negating the applicability of Rule 64 of Delhi School Education Rules, 1973, to a school run by the Sindhi community in Lajpat Nagar. The rule insisted that minority schools have to appoint the requisite number of SC and ST candidates as teachers to receive grant-in-aid. Justice Kumar, writing the judgment for the bench, said that the government was free to frame regulations where there was mal-administration. Even where a minority linguistic or religious school is being run against the public or national interest, appropriate steps can be taken by the authorities, including closure, but in accordance with law, he said.

The government could specify the minimum educational qualification and teaching experience for appointment of teachers in minority educational institutions, but it cannot issue a direction that a person or class of persons ought to be appointed to the school and threaten that non-compliance would result in withdrawal of grant-in-aid. The SC said power to frame regulations for minority educational institutions was vested with the government to ensure better organisation and development of school education and matters incidental thereto.

Such powers must operate within its limitation while ensuring that it does not, in any way, dilute or impair the basic character of linguistic minority. Its right to establish and administer has to be construed liberally to bring it in alignment with the constitutional protections available to such communities, it said.

Source: The Times of India, July 15, 2010

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