The Karnataka High Court has ordered the state government and other respondents to include the names of schools whose recognition was revoked in the middle of the academic year on the students’ S.S.L.C. marks cards.
In the case of Shanthi Nikethan Educational Institutions vs State of Karnataka (WP 6532/2022), a single judge bench led by Honourable Justice P Krishna Bhat observed, “Taking into consideration the facts noticed above, namely that for the entire academic year 2021-2022, the classes were conducted in the petitioners’ Schools on the assurance that the petitioners had recognition for running the Schools for the current academic year, and in such circumstances, it is arbitrary for the respondents to deny credit to the petitioners’ schools in the sense that students who have passed the S.S.L.C. examination should be issued S.S.L.C. certificates that do not bear the name of their respective schools.”
Facts of the case are that the petitioners are educational institutions that run schools with classes ranging from Standard I to Standard X, according to the facts of the case. The petitioners’ case is that they were granted permanent recognition by a circular dated 2-11-2006. Since then, they have been running institutions, and students who have attended their schools have been taking exams without any objection from the respondents. Most importantly, the petitioner’s schools have S.S.L.C. examination centers within their schools.
Furthermore, another Circular dated 22-3-2022 stated that the earlier Circular dated 2-11-2006 had been withdrawn. Circular dated 22-3-2022 specifically informs them that they must apply for renewal of their recognition. Due to a circular dated 22-3-2022, students who completed Standard X in their schools were required to take exams in other locations. Students who took recent S.S.L.C. examinations would be issued S.S.L.C. Certificates without disclosing that they had studied in the petitioners’ schools, resulting in a loss of reputation for them.
During the hearing, the petitioners limited their prayer to directing respondents to include in the marks cards of students who have studied at the petitioners’ schools.
Government opposed the plea:
It was argued that, while the petitioners and other schools were granted permanent recognition in an earlier Circular dated 2-11-2006 (Annexure-H), such recognition was not contemplated in the relevant laws. It is claimed that, as a result, the Circular dated 2-11-2006 was withdrawn by the most recent Circular dated 22-3-2022 (Annexure-F), and thus the petitioners are not entitled to any relief.
He also suggested that the petitioners apply for a new recognition after demonstrating to the respondents that they have complied with the requirements, including fire safety norms, as well as the requirements of the national building code, as directed by the Supreme Court in Avinash Mehrotra v. Union of India & Ors., (2009) 6 SCC 398.
According to the bench, “A review of the various Circulars produced herein demonstrates unequivocally that the respondents granted permanent recognition to the petitioners and similarly situated Schools. The petitioners and similarly situated Schools had all continued on the respondents’ assurance and admitted students to the Schools, and the students had taken the S.S.L.C. examination in their Schools. Even for the academic year 2021-2022, the students in the petitioners’ schools had all attended classes with the assurance that the petitioners’ schools would be recognized.”
The court clarified that, with regard to the remainder of the petitioners’ prayers, it goes without saying that they must reapply after fulfilling other requirements under the Karnataka Education Act, 1983, as well as the Government notifications applicable to recognition grant.