SC upholds Bengal law on hiring teachers for madrasas

SC upholds Bengal law on hiring teachers for madrasas

PTI File Photo

The Supreme Court on Monday said that if merit was not the sole and governing criteria for the selection of teachers in minority institutions, they may lag behind non-minority institutions rather than keep in step with them.

The top court upheld validity and constitutionality of a 2008 West Bengal law that set up a Commission to select teachers in government-aided ‘Madrasa’ over there, saying appointing meritorious candidates would satisfy national interest as well as those of minority institutions.

“Any departure from the concept of merit and excellence would not make a minority educational institution an effective vehicle to achieve what has been contemplated in various decisions of this court,” a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit said.

The top court relied upon the Constitution bench decision in the T M A Pai Foundation case (2002) and other judgements to hold that the provisions of the West Bengal Madrasah Service Commission Act, 2008, are not violative of the rights of the minority educational institutions on any count.

“The selection of the teachers and their nomination by the Commission constituted under the Act would satisfy the national interest as well as the interest of the minority educational institutions,” the bench said in a 151-page judgement.

Following the passage of the state law, the process of appointment of teachers in an aided ‘Madrasa’, recognised as a minority institution, was taken over and entrusted to the Commission.

It was contended that the provisions of the Act transgressed upon the rights of a minority institution of choosing its own teachers.

Acting on a batch of petitions, the top court set aside the Calcutta High Court’s single bench as well as division bench’s judgements declaring the provisions of the law as ultra vires.

The court said that the legislature has taken due care to protect the interest of a minority institution by ensuring that the best-qualified candidates would be nominated by the Commission.

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