State Government's Recommendation Of Not Opening New B.Ed. Colleges Well Within Its Right Under NCTE Act & Not Arbitrary: SC
The Supreme Court while dealing with an appeal filed by the State of Uttarakhand against the Nalanda College of Education held that the decision of the appellant not to recommend the new B.Ed. colleges cannot be said to be arbitrary and is well within its right to make suitable recommendations under the provisions of the National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE) Act, 1993.
The Bench comprising Justice M.R. Shah and Justice M.M. Sundresh stated –
"Applying the law laid down by this Court in the aforesaid decision, the High Court has committed a serious error in holding that the decision not to recommend for the new B.Ed. colleges can be said to be arbitrary. At this stage, it is required to be noted that under the provisions of the NCTE Regulations, the State is well within its right to make suitable recommendations."
The Bench further held –
"The need of the new colleges looking to the requirement can be said to be a relevant consideration and a decision not to recommend further recognition to the new B.Ed. colleges on the need basis cannot be said to be arbitrary. Under the circumstances, the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court is unsustainable."
Advocate Krishnam Mishra appeared on behalf of the appellant i.e., the State of Uttarakhand while no one appeared on behalf of the respondent i.e., the college.
Advocate Manisha T. Karia represented the NCTE supporting the State's decision.
Brief Facts of the Case –
On February 22, 2008, Nalanda College of Education, Dehradun was granted recognition for one year B.Ed. course with an annual intake of 100 students by the NCTE under Section 14(1) of the NCTE Act. For the academic session 2013-14, the College applied to the Northern Regional Committee of the NCTE to increase the intake seats of the students. The State Government in the year 2013 vide order/communication sent its opinion and informed the Northern Regional Committee of NCTE that about 13000 students are passing B.Ed. course per annum against the need of 2500 teachers and therefore most of the students passing B.Ed. course would be unemployed. It opined that no fresh recognition will be granted for undertaking B.Ed. course and stated to cancel the recognition of the respondent/ college. The college being aggrieved by such an order of the government filed a writ petition in the Uttarakhand High Court at Nainital.
The Single Judge Bench of the High Court allowed the petition and quashed the order of the government stating it to be arbitrary in nature. Thereafter, the Division Bench in a special appeal filed by the State dismissed the same and confirmed the judgment and order passed by the Single Judge.
The State Government being aggrieved and dissatisfied with the judgment passed by the Division Bench of the High Court moved to the Supreme Court.
The question before the Supreme Court was whether the policy decision taken by the State Government can be said to be arbitrary which calls for interference of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The Court while considering this question observed –
"As per Rule 7(5) of the NCTE Regulations, 2014, on receipt of the communication from the office of the Regional Committee to the State, the State Government is required to send its recommendations or comments to the Regional Committee. It further provides that in case the State Government is not in favour of the recommendation, it shall provide detailed reasons or grounds thereof with necessary statistics, which shall be taken into consideration by the Regional Committee concerned while disposing of the application. Therefore, when the State Government is required to provide detailed reasons against grant of recognition with necessary statistics, it includes the need and/or requirement."
The Court further in this context noted -
Therefore, the State Government was well within its right to recommend and/or opine that the State Government is not in favour of granting further recognition to the new B.Ed. colleges as against the need of annually 2500 teachers approximately 13000 students would be passing out every year, therefore, for the remaining students, there will be unemployment. The aforesaid decision cannot be said to be arbitrary as observed and held by the High Court."
Accordingly, the Apex Court allowed the appeal and quashed and set aside the judgment and order passed by the Division Bench of the High Court.
Cause Title – The State of Uttarakhand v. Nalanda College of Education and Others