‘While retaining this character as an essential ingredient of the basic features of our Constitution of India it does not, prima facie, appear to be open to the Department of Posts of the Union of India to suddenly de-recognize the equivalence of such degrees as are awarded by such institutions, when compared to the degrees awarded by other institutions which do not even have that constitutional guarantee.’
The Calcutta High Court has stayed the decision of the Department of Posts, Union of India not to accord equivalence to the degrees/diplomas/equivalence which are issued by Madrassas of any character which are operated under the West Bengal Board of Madrasahs Act.
Justice Protik Prakash Banerjee issued this interim order while considering the writ petition filed by the West Bengal Board of Madrasah Education.
The court said till the disposal of the writ petition and subject to its result, it should be deemed that certificate issued by the West Bengal Board of Madrasah Education in respect of any of the degrees which have been held to be equivalent by the Government of West Bengal to be equivalent to Secondary, Higher Secondary, Baccalaureate or by virtue of the circulars lastly issued in 2008, 2009 and 2010 shall be held to be equivalent for all purposes, including that of recruitment to the post of Gramin Dak Sevaks.
The bench said: “It is needless to mention, that regardless of whether the Preamble to the Constitution of India was duly amended to introduce the word “secular” in it without amending the date on which we the people of India gave it to ourselves, and without indicating from when such amendment would take effect, Articles 29 and 30, which have been an integral part of Part III of the Constitution of India from the date that the Constitution was framed and commenced, sufficiently guarantee the right of a religious and linguistic minority to impart education including religious instructions, through educational institutions established by them. While retaining this character as an essential ingredient of the basic features of our Constitution of India it does not, prima facie, appear to be open to the Department of Posts of the Union of India to suddenly de-recognize the equivalence of such degrees as are awarded by such institutions, when compared to the degrees awarded by other institutions which do not even have that constitutional guarantee. It has not been placed before me, as yet, that the Articles 29 and/or 30 have been amended or repealed by the exercise of the constituent powers of the Parliament and/or ratified by the requisite number of state legislatures. It is trite, that when there are constitutional guarantees and a rule which governs the field excluding such “sevaks” from a civil post under the Union, by an executive fiat in the teeth of such statutory rules, such a decision as that dated January 2, 2018 appears to be wholly beyond the jurisdiction of the Union of India, if not ultra vires the Constitution of India.”
The court further said all candidates seeking employment as Gramin Dak Sevaks shall be entitled to not only participate in the process of selection but also to be appointed if found successful. It also directed the Union of India and its officers to ensure that the interim order is complied with both in the letter and the spirit.