The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on Tuesday on a batch of appeals filed by the Tamil Nadu government and others against a Madras High Court order declaring as unconstitutional the amended law to defer implementation of the Uniform System of School Education (USSE) this year.
A three-judge Bench of Justices J.M. Panchal, Deepak Verma and B.S. Chauhan had reserved verdict on August 4 after marathon arguments for six days. The State had argued that the amendment to the Tamil Nadu Uniform System of School Education Act was necessary as it was found defective.
The impugned legislation was enacted with the twin objective, namely, to ensure full compliance of a judicial verdict and to undertake review of the syllabus and text books which were found wanting in quality and content.
It said the object of the amendment Act, which was struck down, was to bring in a school system common to all in the interest of social justice and quality education and not mere uniformity in syllabus. It was pointed out that various directions of the High Court (issued in April 2010) were not complied with, including notifying the Board as the Academic Authority under the Central Act.
The State maintained that the amendment had been necessitated to review the syllabus framed under the USSE as in the present system there was no scope for creative learning and extra textual learning as recommended by the National Curriculum Framework, 2005. On behalf of the respondents, who were petitioners in the High Court, it was argued that restoring the four streams of education would result in commercialisation of education.
The decision to scrap the USSE at the first Cabinet meeting of the new government without any materials or study was a political decision, sacrificing the lives and career of 1.20 crore students in the State. Rejecting the contention of the State that USSE would be implemented next year, it was pointed out that nowhere in the amended law any time limit was mentioned as to when USSE would be implemented.
It was argued that the whole object of the Act was to scrap the system for ever.