Education Tribunal Bill put off

Education Tribunal Bill put off

The Education Tribunal Bill, 2010, which was passed in the Lok Sabha last week, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha by Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal. However, the minister had to beat a hasty retreat after it came under attack from members, cutting across political lines. 

“Considering the sentiments of the honourable members of this House, I request that the consideration of the bill be deferred to the next session,” Sibal said.

At the same time, the minister allayed the apprehensions expressed by the Opposition saying: “We are not in anyway infringing upon the rights of the states. It’s a significant piece of legislation. And if members want a larger debate, we have no problem.”

When the bill dealing with key education reforms was introduced in the Lok Sabha during the previous session, it was referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee for scrutiny. After incorporating some of the recommendations of the committee, it was reintroduced in the Lok Sabha last week.

However, in the Rajya Sabha, where the UPA does not enjoy   a majority, the bill came under all-round attack from members, including the ruling Congress. Members alleged that despite the Parliamentary Standing Committee making several recommendations, most of them were not incorporated. 

Members from the BJP, Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party said the government should not rush the bill in a hasty manner and the committee’s recommendations should not be ignored.

Congress member K Keshava Rao took strong objection to the ministry rejecting the report of the standing committee.

Describing the committee as “mini-Parliament”, Rao said if the report of such a panel is rejected and the House is not even told, it is unacceptable.

The bill proposes to set up a two-tier structure of educational tribunals at the national and state levels to adjudicate disputes that arise in the higher education system.

The tribunals will act as forums for fast-track and speedy resolution of issues in institutions in order to build an effective system of checks and balances in higher education.

While state tribunals will deal with matters concerning teachers, employees and students of institutions in the respective states, the national tribunal will deal with matters concerning regulatory bodies in higher education.

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