The Supreme Court Tuesday said that in the event of a change in government, the interest of students must be kept in mind by the new dispensation while reversing any earlier decision on an academic issue.
The apex court vacation bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Swatanter Kumar said a “decision taken administratively and change emerging from political change should have paramount consideration on its consequences affecting the future of students”.
The court said this while directing the Tamil Nadu government to set up an eight-member experts committee to examine the contents of new text books for schools.
The books were to be introduced from the academic year 2011-12 under the Tamil Nadu Uniform System of School Education Act enacted in keeping with the central law on Right of Children to Free and compulsory Education.But after the AIADMK came to power following this year’s state assembly elections, the new state government decided to put off the introduction of the new textbooks, ordered to be prepared and published by the previous DMK government.
The decision of the AIADMK government to amend the law and defer the introduction of the new books was stayed by the Madras High Court, following which the state government moved the Supreme Court.
Appearing for the state government, senior counsel P.P. Rao contended in the apex court that the impugned order by the high court was not sustainable as “sanctified legal position is that operation of an enactment would not normally be stayed by a court of law”.
Senior counsel A.K. Ganguly, who appeared for parents of students, said that nine crore text books had already been printed at a cost of Rs.200 crore and any relief to the government would amount to wastage of resources.
The court said that the present case was a glaring example of a legislative enactment affecting the future of two crore students studying in Tamil Nadu schools.The judges said the committee of eight experts, to be headed by state chief secretary, will go into the content of the textbooks and invite objections.The committee will have two experts each from the state and the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), two academicians with expertise in school education, state education secretary and state director of school education.The committee will submit its report to the high court within three weeks.
The apex court said that on receiving the panel’s report the high court will hold daily hearing on the petition challenging the amendment to the Tamil Nadu Uniform System of School Education Act by the AIADMK government led by Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.The AIADMK opposed the content of some of these books which carried poems by DMK chief M. Karunanidhi and his MP daughter Kanimozhi, who is facing charges of criminal conspiracy in the 2G spectrum allocation case.The state government contended that the text books suffered from “deficiencies and inadequacies”.