The Allahabad High Court recently expressed disapproval over how education in the State is being viewed as a business to sell degrees, while dismissing an appeal moved by the Sai College of Education over the admission of non-SC/ST candidates to B.Ed seats marked for SC/ST students (Sai College of Education and anr v. State of UP and 3 ors).
While pulling up the College for its conduct in the case, the Bench of Justices Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Rohit Ranjan Agarwal opined that it was inclined to send the matter to the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) for appropriate action, including the de-recognition of the institution. However, the Court refrained from doing so since NCTE was not a party to the matter.
All the same, the Judges underscored that education should not be viewed as a business in saying, “It is not unknown that education in the State has been taken as a business or an industry. It is to sell the degrees. It is required to be stopped.”
The case at hand involved the admission of 25 students belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) communities. All 25 had been alloted admission at the college followed centralised counselling. However, the 25 seats were later alloted to non-SC/ST candidates by the college.
In their case before the High Court, the college asserted that all 25 SC/ST candidates had informed that they were not interested in joining the college. Therefore, the seat had been alloted to others. In support, the college also furnished affidavits stated to have been filed by the SC/ST candidates.
A single Judge had earlier dismissed the college’s writ petition, prompting it to move an appeal before the Division Bench urging it to allow the admission of the non-SC/ST candidates to the 25 seats.
The Division Bench, however, found no reason to interfere with the single Judge’s dismissal of the case. Pertinently, the Division Bench expressed serious doubt over whether the affidavits attributed to the SC/ST candidates were voluntarily prepared by themselves, finding that they contained content that was copied word to word.
“We have perused those affidavits and find it to be in cyclostyled manner. It can happen only when the affidavit has been prepared by someone interested in creating it. In this case the appellants/petitioners’ institution itself was interested to create it otherwise an individual would give affidavit in his own language and cannot be word to word same to affidavit of others … The affidavits were obtained by appellants/petitioners’ institution containing the same language which cannot happen if it is to be given by different candidates on different dates“, reads the order.
In concluding that the college appears to have played a role in preparing these affidavits, the Judges also pointed out that no copies of applications refusing to take admissions by the students had been presented. Rather, the Court opined that the SC/ST students may have only been trying to get a refund for the fee they already paid through the affidavits.
“The affidavits of the candidates/students to refuse admission have been submitted to justify the action but alleged application/letter has not been submitted… The affidavits having the same language were created at the instance of the appellants/petitioners’ institution and seems to have been given to get refund of the amount paid online”, the Court said.
Terming the conduct of the college to be writ large and expressing disbelief over all 25 SC/ST candidates declining to join the college in seats earmarked for them, the Court dismissed the appeal moved by the Sai College.
“It would be an extraordinary situation when none of the candidates recommended by the centralized counselling for admission would refuse to take admission whereas everybody is in dire need to pursue B.Ed. course for getting appointment on the post of Teacher”, the Court said.
While dismissing the appeal, the Court further added that the NCTE would be at liberty to proceed against Sai College if they indulge in similar practices in the future.