Saturday, February 8, 2014

HC dismisses petitions challenging pass marks for TET

The Madras High today dismissed a batch of writ appeals and petitions challenging the prescription of 60 per cent pass marks in the Teacher Eligibility Test.

The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice R K Agrawal and Justice M Sathyanarayanan, in its order, said, "The underlying object and rationale for including TET as a minimum qualification for a person to be eligible for appointment as a teacher is that it would bring national standards and benchmark of the teacher quality in the recruitment process.."

Besides it would, among others, send a signal to all stakeholders that the government lays special emphasis on teacher quality, the bench said.

"It is trite that normally policy decision of the court is not open to judicial review unless it is arbitrary and has no nexus with the object sought to be achieved. In the considered opinion of the court, the state government has took a conscious decision not to compromise on the quality of education and accordingly took a decision to prescribe 60 per cent as the pass mark for TET examination," it said.

"The guidelines/notifications issued by the National Council for Teacher Education have not relaxed the said condition (60 per cent) but given discretion to appropriate authorities to give relaxation, thereby vest discretion with them. The State Government has also exercised the discretion in a fair and proper manner, keeping in mind the welfare of children..," the bench said.

The petitioners had challenged it saying 60 per cent pass mark in Teacher Eligibility Test was against the provisions of the Right to Education Act 2009 and offends Articles 14, 15(4), 16(4) and 21 of the Constitution of India.

The bench also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on a petitioner who suppressed facts about dismissal of a writ petition and appeal on the matter and again filed an additional affidavit. It directed that the amount be paid to Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority, within a period of two weeks.

The bench dismissed the writ appeals and petitions, holding that they lack merit.

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