SC Upholds Quashing Of Unrecognised Basic Teachers Certificate Course Offered By Deemed University & Rs. 50,000 Compensation To All Students [Read Judgment]
The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the Allahabad High Court order quashing an unrecognised two years Basic Teachers Certificate (BTC) Course introduced by a Deemed University without fulfilling the conditions prescribed by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE).
The Bench comprising Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan also upheld the compensation of Rs. 50,000 awarded to the students, observing, “…the admission of students in BTC Course for the Academic Sessions i.e. 2008-09 and 2009-10 was not permissible and such degrees cannot be treated as validly recognised. It may be harsh for the students who took admission in the Academic Sessions 2008-09 and 2009-10. However, the Court cannot countenance the position where the unrecognised course is given imprimatur of validity only on the ground of equity. Because of this reason itself, the High Court has awarded compensation to the students.”
The case concerned a two years BTC Course introduced for the Academic Session 2008-09 and 2009-10 by Nehru Gram Bharati University. The course had been quashed by the Director, State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT). Due to this order, the certificates granted to the students from this batch were also not considered legal and valid for selection and appointments as teachers in Parishadiya Vidyalayas/Junior Basic Schools.
The High Court had ruled that the Deemed University was not legally authorised to start the BTC Course for the Academic Sessions 2008-09 and 2009-10 in view of the absence of strict compliance with the letter of recognition dated August 16, 2005, which specified eight conditions prescribed by the NCTE to start the course. The court had noted that many of these conditions had not been fulfilled by the university.
The high court had, however, taken into account the plight of the students caused due to negligence on the part of the Deemed University and had, therefore, directed that each respondent-student be paid Rs.50,000 by the Deemed University in addition to refund of the entire fee which was paid for the two years course in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
Challenging this order, the University had now asserted that after it became Deemed University by virtue of notification dated June 27, 2008 issued by UGC under Section 3 of the UGC Act, it had the right to hold examinations on its own as it became the ‘examining body’ for BTC Course.
The court, however, noted that the notification granting status of Deemed University was subject to certain conditions. For instance, Section 22(3) of the UGC Act allows Deemed Universities to confer degrees specified by the UGC in the Official Gazette. It then pointed out that BTC was not one of the degrees mentioned therein.
“The reason is obvious. Insofar as BTC is concerned, it is a Teachers Training Course which was regulated entirely and exclusively by NCTE Act and the Regulations framed therein. First thing which follows, therefore, is that mere conferment of Deemed University status did not entitle this University to give BTC degrees to its students,” the court explained.
It then ruled that the University had to compulsorily comply with the conditions specified by NCTE, observing, “We have already held above that merely because the college was conferred the status of Deemed University, these conditions did not cease to apply as BTC is not one of the degrees mentioned in the degrees specified by the UGC in the Official Gazette and that insofar as BTC is concerned, it would still be governed by the NCTE Act and regulations.”
The court, therefore, upheld the impugned order, as well as the compensation awarded to the students.