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Punjab Government to make NCERT, CISCE certified books for private unaided schools mandatory, says Punjab and Haryana High Court

The petitioner Association contended that the members are being forced to prescribe only NCERT and CISCE approved textbooks under the threat of withdrawal of recognition/NOC, which is totally illegal and high-handed. The session is in progress and students are likely to suffer in case the threat of withdrawal of recognition/NOC is carried out.

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The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently has issued notice to the State in the plea filed by the CBSE Affiliation Schools Association challenging the order of the Punjab Government to make it mandatory upon the private unaided schools to prescribe only those textbooks published by the institutes and certified by the NCERT and CISCE. (CBSE Affiliated Schools Association v State of Punjab & ors)

A bench of Justice Sudhir Mittal has sought the response of the State Government on a plea which has challenged the Government order dated 12.03.2021 issued by the Office of Director Education Department, Punjab as well as letter dated 09.04.2021 issued by the Secretary School Education, whereby schools affiliated to CBSE/ICSE and Punjab School Education Board have been directed to prescribe only NCERT/CISCE authorized textbooks.

Earlier, the senior advocate appearing for CBSE affiliated school association submitted that the orders released by the Education Department is contrary to the circular released by CBSE which states the Rules of Recognition do not empower the Punjab Government to lay down such restriction.

The petitioner Association contended that the members are being forced to prescribe only NCERT and CISCE approved text books under the threat of withdrawal of recognition/NOC, which is totally illegal and high-handed. The session is in progress and students are likely to suffer in case the threat of withdrawal of recognition/NOC is carried out.

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Further, it was also argued that the Director Public Instructions has no locus standi in the matter of prescription of text books and the instructions of CBSE are to the contrary.

The HC states that. “Meanwhile, no coercive steps shall be taken against members of the petitioner.” till the next date i.e. 09.07.2021.

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