Karnataka HC Quashes Circulars Mandating ‘Board’ Exams for Students of Classes 5-8 in State Syllabus Schools

Last Update: March 11, 2023, 5:06 pm IST

The judgement, however, appreciated the intention behind the circulars (Representational Image)

The judgement, however, appreciated the intention behind the circulars (Representational Image)

The High Court said that these circulars are contrary to the intention of the Right to Education Act under which they were issued

The Karnataka High Court on Friday quashed the circulars issued by Education The department is introducing board-level assessment for classes 5 and 8. It is applicable to students studying in the state syllabus and the question papers were set to be designed by the Karnataka School Examination and Evaluation Board.

The notice of the education department was challenged by the Association of Unaided Recognized Schools and Management Association of Registered Unaided Private Schools.

A single judge bench of Justice Pradeep Singh Yerur quashed the circulars dated December 12, 2022, December 13, 2022 and January 4, 2023 issued by the Commissioner of Public Instruction and the State Education Department.

The High Court said that these circulars are contrary to the intention of the Right to Education Act, under which they were issued.

“Such circulars issued can only supplement the Act or the Rules but cannot in any circumstances take the place of the Rules. In situations when such circulars are issued to take the place of rules which are in the guise of rules, the processes and procedures laid down under section 38(4) of the Act have to be followed,” the High Court said.

Rejecting the circulars, the High Court judge in his judgment said, “In the circumstances, I find force in the arguments made by the concerned counsel for the petitioners that a new format for assessment and evaluation implemented by the State Government is contrary to Section 16 of the RTE Act and the procedure laid down under the Act. The writ petitions are, therefore, allowed.” The High Court observed that the state government had not followed the procedure and placed the issue before the state legislatures before issuing the circular.

“The State Government had issued the impugned circular to lay down certain assessment and evaluation procedures under the RTE Act. The State Government is empowered to make rules and regulations and carry out the provisions of the Act. In doing so, it has to compulsorily follow the procedure under the Act. Section 38(4) of the Act states that every rule or notification made under this Act shall be made after it has been laid before the State Legislatures.

The Additional Advocate General, appearing for the State, had contended that the Government was not making any rules or notifications and it was only preparing certain assessments and evaluations for the aid and benefit of the students covered under the State syllabus.

Therefore, the question of following the process and procedure of the Act, would not specifically attract section 38 or any other provision of the Act.

The judge, however, observed, “Such arguments are flawed. I am afraid that the aforesaid contentions of the learned AAG cannot be accepted on the basis of the impugned circular, a change brought about by way of assessment and evaluation by the State Government.” Awarding 20 marks for the academic year 2022-23, which will invariably be evaluated by the board; KSEAB of the state. Thus, an external agency is coming in handy to award 20 marks to the students of class 5th and 8th. It has not been considered under Section 16 of the RTE Act.”

However, the judgment appreciated the intention behind the circular. “The intent of the State Government order is laudable and commendable in that it is trying to put checks and balances on the mechanism for assessment and evaluation and for remedial action. At present where a large number of schools are opening at every nook and corner of the roads at the district and state level, it is necessary to bring in a mechanism with checks and balances for assessment and evaluation of school children from class I to IX. Equal assessment of schools and teaching staff,” the High Court said.

“But the manner in which it was tried to be implemented was found to be unfair,” the bench said.

“However, while bringing in such a mechanism, the appropriate State Government, or the schools for that matter, shall mandatorily follow the process and procedure laid down and prescribed under law. It is a cardinal principle of law that when any The scheme circular is ordered to be developed or generated under the law under which it is contemplated,” the judgment said.

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