J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI: The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), New Delhi, has quashed an order passed by the Southern Regional Committee, NCTE, Bangalore, refusing to approve B.Ed. (distance education) in the Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology and Research Academy University.

A Division Bench of the Madras High Court in November 2006 directed the Southern Regional Committee to pass orders in four weeks on the application submitted by SASTRA University, Thanjavur, in 2005. As the orders were not complied with, a contempt application was filed.

Even after an inspection by experts on December 2, 2006, who recommended grant of approval, the Southern Regional Committee sought clarifications from the headquarters whether deemed universities could conduct distance education programmes, and if so, what was their jurisdiction. The headquarters clarified in the first week of February that deemed universities could conduct distance education programmes as per the relevant Act. Yet, the Southern Regional Committee rejected the application.

During the hearing of the contempt application, the court directed the Regional Director, Southern Regional Committee, to be present in the court on April 3 along with the records. On perusing the records, the court held prima facie that the Southern Regional Committee had committed contempt. The committee sought time.

Meanwhile, SASTRA filed an appeal before the NCTE against the order of the Southern Regional Committee.

On April 11, the NCTE quashed the order and directed the Southern Regional Committee to grant approval immediately.

The same day it granted the approval, complying with the High Court's directive and the orders of the NCTE.