A single judge bench of Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua of the Gauhati High Court held that under the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993, 'deemed recognition' is given to institutes if they satisfy three conditions, namely:
(i) the institutes are funded by the Central Government or the State Government or the Union Territory;
(ii) have offered a course of training in teacher education on or after the appointed day i.e. when NCTE was established up to the academic year 2017-18;
(iii) fulfils the conditions of Section 14 (3)(a) (adequate financial resources, accommodation, library, qualified staff, laboratory, etc.) and specified by the Central Government by a notification in the Official Gazette.
It further held that such deemed recognition is unconditional and not circumscribed to a limited period of time.
"Any institute satisfying the said condition precedent would be entitled for a deemed recognition. Merely because the condition precedent to have a deemed recognition is the offering of teacher education course from the appointed day up to the year 2017-18, it cannot be understood that the recognition would also be only up to the year 2017-18, which would be more so as no such limitation or being circumscribed is provided in the provisions of the second proviso to Rule 14(1) of the NCTE Act, 1993. On the other hand, the provision of the second proviso is explicitly clear that it will be a deemed recognition without any limitation or being circumscribed up to a given duration, provided the three conditions are satisfied."
The clarification comes in a writ petition preferred by a Hindi Teachers Training College seeking grant of recognition.
In 2005, the petitioner institute applied before the authorities under the NCTE for grant of recognition for conducting Hindi Shikshan Parangat course to the in-service Government teachers of the region. The Regional Director refused to grant such recognition, on the grounds that the institute had not submitted the list of its teaching staff in the prescribed format, the total land area was not as per the NCTE norms and the building plan and the building completion certified approved from the competent authority had not been submitted.
The principal of the petitioner institute then requested the Member Secretary of the NCTE to not finalize the order of refusal, as it could have an adverse effect on all Government schools and colleges of Assam. On 07.01.2015, another application was made to the Regional Director of NCTE, along with the required documents, which received no response. Subsequent application was also made, but again, there was no response.
Later, in 2020, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development issued a notification by which it specified the institutions funded by the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, and accorded recognition for the courses and duration mentioned in the notification. The petitioner institute received recognition for Hindi Shikshan Parangat, from 1995-1996 to 2017-2018
Subsequently, the petitioner preferred an appeal under Section 18 of the NCTE Act, before the NCTE Appellate Authority in New Delhi, against the 2008 order by which the Regional Director had refused recognition of the petitioner institute for conducting the Hindi Shikshan Parangat course. The appeal stood rejected on the ground that it was instituted after thirteen years of the impugned order, and, since then, the norms and standards for teacher education programmes had changed (in the years 2009 and 2014).
The Court noted that, although the initial application of the petitioner for recognition was refused by the order dated 21.10.2008, by the notification dated 12.05.2020, the petitioner institute was given the recognition with retrospective effect by the MHRD, in exercise of the powers under the second proviso to Section 14(1) of the NCTE Act. The Court also found that under Section 14(1), every institution offering or intending to offer a course or training in teacher education on or after the appointed day, that is, the date of establishment of the NCTE, would be required to make an application to the Regional Committee concerned for recognition under the NCTE Act.
However, the second proviso to Section 14(1) provides for an exception, the Court stated. It makes it explicit that, if the above-mentioned three conditions are fulfilled, then such institutions shall be deemed to have been recognized by the Regional Committee. The Court held that the very expression 'deemed to have been recognized by the Regional Committee' is a legal fiction created in favour of such institutes - that if they satisfy the said conditions and the institutes are specified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette, the law recognizes that such institutions have been recognized by the Regional Committee. Such deemed recognition is without any limitation or time bar, as per the Court.
Allowing the writ petition, the Court declared that the recognition to the petitioner institute as per the notification dated 12.05.2020 of the MHRD had to be understood to be a recognition without any limit or time bar.
Case Title: HINDI TEACHERS TRAINING COLLEGE, NORTH GUWAHATI v. THE UNION OF INDIA AND ORS
Case No.: WP(C)/3275/2022
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Gau) 55