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Supreme Court: Right To Education Under Article 21A Envisages That Teachers Must Be Meritorious & The Best Of The Lot

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
19 Nov 2020 5:47 AM GMT
Supreme Court: Right To Education Under Article 21A Envisages That Teachers Must Be Meritorious & The Best Of The Lot
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Supreme Court noted that Rule 2(1)(x) read with Rule 14 provided that minimum qualifying marks as stipulated by the Government must be obtained by a candidate to be considered eligible for selection as Assistant Teacher.

Right to education guaranteed in terms of Article 21A of the Constitution would envisage quality education being imparted to the children which in turn, would signify that the teachers must be meritorious and the best of the lot, the Supreme Court observed while dismissing the appeals filed by Uttar Pradesh Shiksha Mitra Association in a case related to the recruitment of 69,000...

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Right to education guaranteed in terms of Article 21A of the Constitution would envisage quality education being imparted to the children which in turn, would signify that the teachers must be meritorious and the best of the lot, the Supreme Court observed while dismissing the appeals filed by Uttar Pradesh Shiksha Mitra Association in a case related to the recruitment of 69,000 assistant teachers in the State of Uttar Pradesh.

The bench comprising Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Mohan M. Shantanagoudar observed that the fixation of cut off at 65-60% in ATRE-2019 was perfectly valid and justified. The bench observed that for maintaining standards of education in schools, the National Council for Teachers' Education Is specifically empowered to determine the qualifications of persons for being recruited as teachers in schools or colleges. The bench observed thus:

"Considering the large number of candidates who appeared at ATRE-2019 as well as the nature and difficulty level of the examination, the cut off was designed to draw the best available talent. The endeavour on part of the State in attempting to secure the best of the teachers was therefore fully justified. It needs no emphasis that the right to education guaranteed in terms of Article 21A of the Constitution would envisage quality education being imparted to the children which in turn, would signify that the teachers must be meritorious and the best of the lot. Any process which applied  equally to all the candidates and was designed to garner the best talent, cannot be called arbitrary or irrational."

The Court also noted that the Rule 2(1)(x) read with Rule 14 provided that minimum qualifying marks as stipulated by the Government must be obtained by a candidate to be considered eligible for selection as Assistant Teacher. The contention raised in the appeal was that the fixation at 65-60% was done after the examination and would amount to changing the rules of the game post examination. Reliance was placed on the judgment in K. Manjusree vs. State of Andhra Pradesh (2008) 3 SCC 512 and other cases. The court, rejecting this contention, said that there is a fundamental distinction between the principle laid down in K. Manjusree and the situation in the present case. It said.

"Unlike the cases covered by the decision of this Court in K. Manjusree, where a candidate could reasonably assume that there was no stipulation regarding minimum qualifying marks for interview, and that the aggregate of marks in written and oral examination must constitute the basis on which merit would be determined, no such situation was present in the instant case. The candidate had to pass ATRE-2019 and he must be taken to have known that there would be fixation of some minimum qualifying marks for clearing ATRE-2019."
"If the Government has the power to fix minimum qualifying marks 'from time to time', there is nothing in the Rules which can detract from the exercise of such power even after the examination is over, provided the exercise of such power is not actuated by any malice or ill will and is in furtherance of the object of finding the best available talent."

The court observed that, if the ultimate object is to select the best available talent and there is a power to fix the minimum qualifying marks, there is no illegality or impropriety in fixation of cut off at 65-60%. While dismissing the appeals, the bench further said:

It must be accepted that after considering the nature and difficulty level of examination, the number of candidates who appeared, the concerned authorities have the requisite power to select a criteria which may enable getting the best available teachers. Such endeavour will certainly be consistent with the objectives under the RTE Act. 65. In the circumstances, we affirm the view taken by the Division Bench of the High Court and conclude that in the present case, the fixation of cut off at 65-60%, even after the examination was over, cannot be said to be impermissible. In our considered view, the Government was well within its rights to fix such cut off.


CASE:  Ram Sharan Maurya and Ors. Vs. State of U.P. [Civil Appeal No. 3707 of 2020]
CORAM: Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Mohan M. Shantanagoudar
COUNSEL:  Mr. P.S. Patwalia, Mr. C.A. Sundaram, Mr. Rakesh Dwivedi, Dr. Rajiv Dhawan, Mr. Nidhesh Gupta, Mr. V. Shekhar, Mr. S. Guru Krishna Kumar, Ms. Meenakshi Arora, Mr. Dinesh Diwedi, Mr. K.T.S. Tulsi, Mr. Jayant Bhushan, learned Senior Advocates and Mr. Gaurav Agrawal and Ms. Tanya Agarwal, learned Advocates.Ms. Aishwarya Bhati, learned Additional Solicitor General, Mr. H.N. Salve, Mr. R. Venkataramani, Mr. Pallav Shishodiya, Mr. K.V. Vishwanathan and Ms. V. Mohana, learned Senior Advocates.

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