6 Jun 2022 3:15 PM GMT
The Kerala High Court on Monday stayed the operation of the recent amendments to the Kerala Education Rules (KER) for one month as an interim relief in a plea that challenged certain provisions of the said amendment. Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan took the prima facie view that the petitioners had made out a good case on merits. "There appears to be considerable merit in the submission of...
The Kerala High Court on Monday stayed the operation of the recent amendments to the Kerala Education Rules (KER) for one month as an interim relief in a plea that challenged certain provisions of the said amendment.
Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan took the prima facie view that the petitioners had made out a good case on merits.
"There appears to be considerable merit in the submission of the learned counsel that the provisions (of KER) are inconsistent with the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 and also the various provisions of the Kerala Education Act, 1958 and the Rules, 1959 and is likely to cause serious hardship to all the stakeholders. In that view of the matter, as an interim measure, the respondents are interdicted from enforcing or giving effect to Exhibit P1 (amendment) for a period of one month."
As per the amendment, Rule 12(3) was inserted in Chapter XXIII which stipulates that the additional division/additional post would be effective only from the 1st of October of each year. Amendments were also brought in making the effective date of the staff fixation order as 15th of July of each year. The petitioners filed the petition being aggrieved by these among other provisions of the amendment introduced to the Rules.
Advocates V.A Muhammed and K.Mohanakannan appearing for the petitioners pointed out that an academic year commences on June 1st and if the amendment was brought to force, there would possibly be a dearth of teachers from June 1st to July 14th and for students in additional divisions, no teacher would be available up to 1st October. It was argued that the implementation of this amendment would result in getting teachers for one set of students from the 1st of June and an additional set from the 1st of October.
They submitted that the newly inserted Rule 15A mandates the Headmaster/ Vice-Principal to take immediate follow-up action regarding the long absentees in consultation with the local authority. This implies that the mere absence of a student on the day of the educational officer's visit would lead to the conclusion that the admission is bogus.
In this background, the petitioners contended that when the salutary objective of the Act was to ensure retention of students in school one way or the other, the amendment requires the class teachers to remove the pupils from the rolls.
Further, it was submitted that the minimum number of working days/instructional hours were to be provided in an academic year and a time schedule for various periods from 10 am to 4 or 4.30 pm should also be adhered to. However, the petitioners asserted that the amendment would disable schools from imparting instructions in the prescribed manner.
Additional Advocate General Ashok M.Cheriyan sought an adjournment to place on record a counter-affidavit and submitted that the Government has taken note of the issues highlighted by the petitioners and is actively considering whether the provisions conflict with the Central enactment and to take corrective measures if warranted.
From the explanatory note, the Court found that the Government felt it necessary to take measures to curb the practice of creating additional divisions with bogus admissions and forged attendance. To achieve the said object, it has been decided to sanction additional divisions and posts only after a thorough verification in the manner decided by the Government and to sanction additional divisions and posts only with effect from 1st October.
However, it was observed that the impact of sanctioning additional divisions and posts only on the 1st of October appears to have been ignored. As such, an interim order was granted in favour of the petitioners. The matter will be taken up again on 10 June.
Case Title: Manager, KPM Higher Secondary School & Anr v. State of Kerala & Ors.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 261
Click Here To Read/Download The Interim Order