Monday, December 4, 2023

Supreme Court upholds validity of notice asking teacher training schools to submit reports

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The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the validity of a public notice issued by the National Council for Teachers Education calling upon teachers training schools to submit performance appraisal reports in order to ensure that there are neither ghost teachers nor ghost students in such institutions. 

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had submitted before the High Court that the endeavour of the Council is firstly, to fix the identity of the persons, maybe either teaching in or receiving education/training in teacher training institutions, to ensure that they are neither ghost teachers nor ghost students in such institutions. In addition, he said the information will remain with the council and will not be in the public domain. 

The two-judge bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Aniruddha Bose refused to grant relief to teachers training schools. However, the Court extended the time granted by the High Court to respective institutions to furnish their appraisal report till April 2, 2022. 

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The Court noted the assurance given by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the requisite steps for facilitating compliance by the respective institutions shall be taken by the respondents, including opening of the portal until mid night tomorrow i.e., April 2, 2022.

The Division Bench of the Delhi High Court had upheld the decision of the Single Judge bench whereby the public notice dated 22.09.2019 issued by the respondent-National Council for Teacher Education was challenged by a group of various teachers training schools. The said public notice required the teacher training schools recognised by the respondent-Council to submit the performance appraisal reports in the prescribed format along with fee of Rs. 15,000.

The High Court denied to accept the contention of petitioners counsel Sanjay Sharawat, who had questioned the competency of the Member Secretary of the Council to issue the said public notice on the ground that the Council, which is a large statutory body constituted under Section 3 of the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993, could have taken the decision to formulate the performance appraisal report format.

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The Court said,

“this aspect has been considered by the Single and prima facie, we are not impressed by the submission for the reason that the council has not disowned the format. The Council has, in fact, defended its impugned public notice as well as the format before the learned single judge.” 

Further, the high court had also denied the contention of petitioners that it violates the privacy of teachers and students in view of the K. S Puttaswamy judgement. The Court said, prima facie it does not appear to us that any information touching upon the privacy of the personnel has been called for, by the respondent-Council. 

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The High Court had observed,

“Since the purpose of requiring the teacher training institutes to furnish the performance appraisal reviews is to maintain vigilance and transparency in matter of functioning of teacher training institutes, in our view, it would not be in the larger public interest to interfere with the same at this stage.” 

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