Tamil Nadu moves Supreme Court over High Court verdict

The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Madras High Court judgment striking down ultra vires the amendment to the Tamil Nadu Uniform System of School Education Act to defer implementation of the ‘Samacheer system'. The special leave petition directed against the High Court judgment dated July 18 is likely to the mentioned for early hearing on Thursday.

On behalf of students and parents, caveats had also been filed to oppose the stay sought by the State and they will be heard on that day.

The SLP said, “The High Court failed to appreciate that the Amendment Act is a valid legislation empowering the executive government to decide when to implement the uniform syllabus after overhauling the syllabus thoroughly and all steps are taken to comply with the directions of the judicial verdict. As such it is a well recognised legislative tool which ought not to have been lightly interfered with and interdicted, that too without any finding of transgression of constitutional guarantees and/or nullifying judicial pronouncement.”

The SLP pointed out that in the present system there was no scope for creative learning and extra textual learning as recommended by the National Curriculum Framework, 2005 and as a consequence, the competence of the students in the State would not be at par with students of other parts of the country while facing national-level examinations for higher education.

Further, the State Common Board of School Education constituted under the Tamil Nadu Act was not designated to be the Academic Authority according to Section 29 of the Central Act and therefore, there was no competent professional body for prescribing the common syllabus and prescription of textbooks.

The SLP said, “Since the Uniform System of Education involves more than prescription of common syllabus and textbooks, several aspects like qualification of teachers, infrastructure facilities, examinations, code of conduct for teachers, conduct rules for students etc., required a comprehensive study in the interest of students. The State, therefore, felt that it was impossible to implement the Uniform Education System this year as envisaged in Section 3 of the Tamil Nadu Act and took a policy decision to review the syllabus under the Uniform System of Education as framed.”

The SLP raised important questions of law, viz, “whether the impugned order is liable to be set aside for holding that the impugned Amending Act is an Arbitrary piece of legislation without appreciating that the provision was only to ensure implementation of the Uniform System of School Education with a proper quality syllabus and textbooks and to ensure proper compliance with the directions of an earlier Division bench decision dated April 30, 2010” and “whether the High Court failed to appreciate that the impugned legislation was thus enacted with the twin objective, namely, to ensure full compliance of a judicial verdict and to undertake review of the syllabus and textbooks which were found wanting in quality and content?”

The SLP sought quashing of the judgment and an interim stay of its operation.

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