High Court issues notice to Gujarat govt on schools’ pleas against amended Act


By LE Desk

Ahmedabad, June 22, 2021: The Gujarat High Court has issued notice to the state government on a batch of petitions filed by various government-aided minority schools challenging an Act conferring powers on the state education board to appoint teachers and principals in such institutions. 

A division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Biren Vaishnav yesterday issued notice to the state government and asked it to respond in three weeks, news agency PTI reported.

The schools have challenged the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (Amendment) Act, 2021 that was notified on May 31, and which gives the state education board powers to provide for qualifications and methods of selection for non-teaching staff of registered private secondary and higher secondary schools, as well as conditions of appointment, promotion, and termination of employment of principal, teaching and non-teaching staff of such schools.

The amended Act also confers on the board the power to regulate the recruitment of non-teaching staff and allows the Gujarat State School Service Commission to select teachers and headmasters of registered government aided private secondary and higher secondary schools.

The petitioners have claimed that the amended Act takes away the right of the management to administer the institution, and the state, in the garb of providing regulations and conditions, has completely transgressed on the rights of the minorities enshrined under the Constitution.

The pleas claimed the amendment to the Act was “unjustified and unlawful,” and denies the fundamental right of the petitioners to achieve excellence and to administer its institution as per its requirements keeping in mind broad principles of the Constitution governing minority institutions.

The pleas said the amendment to the Act offends the protection conferred on minorities through Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution, and sought the court’s direction to prohibit the government from applying provisions of Sections 17 (26), 34 (2), and 35 of the principal Act on minority institutions, reported PTI.

The petitioners have also sought interim relief by way of a stay on the implementation of the amendment of the Act, and restrain authorities from proceeding on matters concerning selection of candidates till final disposal of the petition.

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