Calcutta, June 27: Calcutta High Court today declared illegal this year’s BEd courses in 28 colleges that are not affiliated to the National Council for Teachers’ Education.
The colleges are affiliated to Calcutta, Burdwan, Kalyani and Vidyasagar universities.
The court order makes the future of over 5,000 students uncertain. Without a BEd degree, they will not get permanent teaching jobs.
In April, the court had declared BEd courses of eight colleges under North Bengal University illegal on the same ground.
Soon after, it passed an interim order barring the 28 colleges from conducting exams or taking new students.
The Bengal government had earlier deferred this year’s BEd exam and admission for the 2006-2007 session until the disposal of the case.
There are around 50 BEd colleges across the state. Thirty-six of them have now been barred from teaching the course. After today’s order, the government will have to decide the fate of the students in the other colleges.
The division bench of Chief Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and Justice Aniruddha Basu asked the universities to cancel the admission of the students of the “illegal” colleges.
The colleges were asked to pay Rs 5,000 to each student as compensation and return the fees collected.
The university authorities were also directed not to allow the institutions to run BEd courses in the 2006-07 academic year until they obtained the council’s approval.
According to the National Council for Teacher Education Act 1995, every teacher training institute has to obtain its approval and follow its guidelines.
The ruling rendering the north Bengal colleges illegal came following a public interest litigation by a Malda businessman, Tulsi Bakshi. Then, high court lawyer Anjan Bhattacharya moved another PIL saying 28 colleges in south Bengal were also running BEd courses without the approval.
The division bench ruled that the petitioner’s contention was correct.
Advocate-general Balai Ray had earlier tried to convince the court that the state had another law empowering the universities to allow the institutions to run the courses, but in vein. He had also said that the government would challenge the validity of the teachers’ education act.
A similar problem is dogging 122 Primary Teachers’ Training Institutes in Bengal. The court has passed an interim order restraining them from admitting students and holding examinations.