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TET: Court refuses to intervene in minimum mark condition
The Madras High Court has refused to intervene in the notification issued by the Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB) that mandated minimum required eligibility marks of 45 per cent for Tamil Nadu Teachers Eligibility Test (TNET) 2019.
Dismissing a plea moved by M Devi, a Scheduled Caste (SC) candidate who challenged the stipulation that the candidate should have a degree with at least 45 per cent marks, Justice GR Swaminathan said the court cannot compel the government to grant relaxation and permit those candidates who secured less than 45 per cent marks in graduation to appear for TET.
“This is even more so because the State was bound to adhere to the National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE) norms. Merely because the other States have not done so is not ground to fault the impugned notification,” the judge said.
The petitioner’s counsel had contended that the NCTE notification offers relaxation up to five per cent in the qualifying marks to teachers belonging to reserved categories such as SC/ST/OBC/PH, and added that all these years, neither the TRB nor the School Education Department had insisted that the candidate appearing for TET should possess minimum marks of 45 per cent.
Also, claiming that TRB was only a nodal agency for conducting Teacher Eligibility Test, the counsel submitted that successfully clearing the test was no guarantee to get a job. It was only an eligibility requirement to take part in the recruitment process for being appointed as a teacher. Hence, the impugned notification suddenly changing their policy shattered the legitimate expectations of the petitioner, and was in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.
However, quoting a Supreme Court order that the emphasis on clearing TET was to ensure maintenance of quality in imparting primary education, Justice Swaminathan said, “Therefore, when the NCTE notification prescribes graduation with at least 45 per cent marks as one of the eligibility requirements, it cannot be bypassed on any ground.
The NCTE guidelines lays down that only a person who has acquired the academic and professional qualification specified in NCTE notification will be eligible for appearing in TET. That being the position, considerations of equity or legitimate expectation cannot be pressed into service.”
“It is true that the TET held in 2017 failed to confirm to the aforesaid standard. But that was a mistake. The State is always at liberty to undo its mistake and bring the procedure in line with the norms laid down by NCTE,” the judge added.