KOSHY, J. -
(1.) Power and authority of the National Council for Teacher Education (in short NCTE) constituted under The National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993 (hereinafter referred to as The Act') in issuing various directions to institutions which offers B.Ed. Degree Course and Training in Teacher Education especially with regard to recognition of Teachers Training Colleges and fixation of teacher-pupil ratio at 1 : 10 are to be considered in these original petitions. The aided training colleges challenged the directions issued by the National Council for Teacher Education with regard to teacher-pupil ratio at 1 : 10 on the ground that they were existing and conducting the course for more than 25 years and their staff strength is governed by the University Regulations as approved by the Government and the University Grants Commission (U.G.C.) Government is paying the salary of teachers and, therefore, without sanction from the University to which they are affiliated and compliance of the norms of the University and the Government, they are unable to appoint more teachers. Their staff strength is fixed as per the Rules of the University in which they are affiliated If NCTE norms are implemented, U. G. C. norms regarding work loaded will be violated. Therefore, it is contended that teacher-pupil ratio of 1 : 10 (subsequently revised by NCTE as 1: 12.5) cannot be implemented by them as it is contrary to the Rules of the University and norms of UGC. Another set of writ petitions were filed by the Universities in Kerala, viz., Kerala, Calicut and Mahatma Gandhi Universities, contending that they are autonomous bodies created by the statute and NCTE regulation is not applicable to Universities with regard to academic standards and other connected matters. It is for them to decide the matter and in any event, NCTE has no supervisory powers over powers and functions of the University and courses conducted by them. Hence the teachers training centres directly run by the University which conduct B.Ed, degree course are not governed by NCTE regulations. The private unaided colleges also filed writ petitions stating that they are compelled to comply with the NCTE norms. Without complying with all regulations and recognition from NCTE, University will not grant affiliation but centres run by University for conducting B.Ed. Course have no required facilities and, therefore, Court should issue directions that Universities also should not conduct their centres offering courses in teaching education without complying with NCTE directions. In O.P. No. 5684 of 2000, filed by Malabar H. P. Kendra, Kondotty, it is stated they were unable to apply in the prescribed form as wrong form was submitted to them. The matter was earlier heard by a Division Bench consisting of A. V. Savant, C.J. and K. S. Radhakrishnan, J. and the Court prima facie found that the working hours fixed by the NCTE is unworkable as universities and affiliated colleges have to comply with the guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission. Therefore, by order dated 17th July, 2000 the Court directed that the matter may be discussed in a meeting with the representatives of the University Grants Commission, Universities, NCTE, Government and all other related parties. A meeting was convened on 11-8-2002 and copy of the minutes were also filed before this Court as Annexure A to memo dated 18-2-2003 filed by the counsel for NCTE in O.P. No. 15971 of 2000. It is submitted by the NCTE that after considering the merits and study by an expert committee, notification dated 3rd Sept. 2001 was published reducing teacher-pupil ratio of 1:12.5. Some other relaxations also were granted.
(2.) The first question to be decided in these cases is the legislative competence in enacting the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993 and power of NCTE to issue directions. We are of the view that the matter is already covered by the Apex Court judgment in this matter. The Supreme Court in Union of India v. Shah Goverdhan L. Kabra Teachers College, 2002 (8) SCC 228 , held that the Act is valid and it was passed within the legislative competence of Parliament under Entry 66 of List I of Schedule VII. In that case provision in S.17(4) was challenged. The above S.17(4) invalidates the qualification of teachers of recognised institutions from the NCTE for the purpose of employment under the State Government. The Court held that the above provision is perfectly valid. In Para.8 of the judgment the Court held as follows :
"8. Bearing in mind the aforesaid principles of rule of construction, if the provisions of the impugned statute, namely, the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993 are examined and more particularly S.17(4) thereof which we have already extracted, the conclusion is irresistible that the statute is one squarely dealing with coordination and determination of standard in institutions for higher education within the meaning of Entry 66 of List I of the Seventh Schedule. Both Entries 65 and 66 of List I empower the Central Legislature to secure the standards of research and the standards of higher education, the object behind them being that the same standards are not lowered at the hands of the particular State or States to the detriment of the national progress and the power of the State Legislature must be so exercised as not to directly encroach upon power of the Union under Entry 66. The power to coordinate does not mean merely the power to evaluate but it means to harmonise or secure relationship for concerted action. A legislation made for the purpose of coordination of standards of higher education is essentially a legislation by the Central Legislature in exercise of its competence under Entry 66 of List I of the Seventh Schedule and sub-s.(4) of S.17 merely provides the consequences if an institution offers a course or training in teacher education in contravention of the Act though the ultimate consequences under sub-s.(4) of S.17 may be that an unqualified teacher will not be entitled to get an employment under the State or Central Government or in a university or in a college. But by no stretch of imagination can be said provision be construed to mean a law dealing with employment as has been held by the High Court in the impugned judgment."
(3.) Before going to the other contentions in these cases we may consider the scheme of the Act. The object of the Act is clear from the preamble itself. The preamble of the Act states as follows :
"An Act to provide for the establishment of a National Council for Teacher Education with a view of achieving planned and coordinated development of the teacher education system throughout the country, the regulation and proper maintenance of norms and standards in the teacher education system and for matters connected therewith."
Teacher education" is defined in S.2(1) of the Act which reads as follows :
"teacher education" means programmes of education, research or training of persons for equipping them to teach at preprimary, primary secondary and Senior Secondary stages in schools, and includes non formal education, part time education, adult education and correspondence education."
The other definitions which may require consideration in these cases are also quoted below :
"(d) examining body means a University, agency or authority to which an institution is affiliated for conducting examinations in teacher education qualifications;
(e) Institution means an institution which offers courses or training in teacher education;
(i) recognised institution' means an institution recognised by the Council under S.14;
(m) teacher education qualification' means a degree diploma or certificate in teacher education awarded by a University or examining body in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
(n) 'University' means a University defined under clause (f) of S.2 of the University Grants (3 of 1956) Commission Act, 1956 and includes an institution deemed to be a University under S.3 of that Act;
S.14 and 15 deal with retention of teacher education institutions, its procedure etc. S.16 clearly provides as follows :
"16. Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, no examining body shall, on or after the appointed day,-
(a) grant affiliation, whether provisional or otherwise, to any institution; or
(b) hold examination, whether provisional or otherwise , for a course or training conducted by a recognised institution.
Unless the institution concerned has obtained recognition from the Regional Committee concerned, under S.14 or permission for a course or training under S.15."
S.17(4) provides that even if an institution offers a course the candidates passing the above course shall not be treated as having valid qualification for the purpose of employment under the Central Government, State Government or University or in school, college or other educational body sided by the Central Government or the State Government. S.17(4) reads as follows :
(4) If an institution offers any course or training in teacher education after the coming into force of the order withdrawing recognition under sub-s.(1) or where an institution offering a course or training in teacher education immediately before the appointed day fails or neglects to obtain recognition or permission under this Act, the qualification in teacher education obtained pursuant to such course or training or after undertaking a course or training in such institution, shall not be treated as a valid qualification for purposes of employment under the Central Government, any State Government or University, or in any school, college or other educational body aided by the Central Government or any State Government."
S.18 provides for appeal over any decision that may be taken by the Regional Committee under S.14, 15 and 17 to the Council. S.31 empowers the Central Government to make rules to carry out the provisions of the Act and S.32 enables the Council to make regulations by notification in the official Gazette. S.32(1) reads as follows :
"32.(1) the Council may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make regulations not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder, generally to carry out the provisions of this Act."
S.32(2) enumerates some of the matters for which regulations can be framed, which includes the minimum qualification for a person to be employed as a teacher the conditions required for the proper functioning of the institution, etc. S.33 provides that every rule and regulation made under the Act should be laid before the Parliament and before its publication.;