The NIOS’s 18-month D.El.Ed. Diploma programme in elementary education is not equivalent to a two-year regular diploma: Supreme Court

Case title: Jaiveer Singh and Ors. Vs State of Uttarakhand and Ors.

Case no.: SLP (C) No. 23943 of 2022

Decided on: 28.11.2023

Quorum: Hon’ble Chief Justice B.R Gavai, Hon’ble Justice Prasanth Kumar Mishra.


Hon’ble Justices stated that “we find that the High Court erred in holding that 18 months Diploma conducted by NIOS through ODL mode is equivalent to the 2 years regular Diploma, particularly so, when there was no material placed on record to even remotely hold that such a qualification was recommended by the Expert Body NCTE. On the contrary, the communication dated 6th September 2019 of NCTE, the directives of MHRD so also the recognition order dated 22nd September 2017 clearly go on to show that the 18 months Diploma was provided as a one-time window to the in-service teachers to acquire the minimum qualifications between the 2017 Amendment Act and the outer limit of 1st April 2019. In our considered view, the High Court has totally erred in holding that the 2 years Diploma is equivalent to 18 months Diploma.”



These appeals challenge the judgment and order passed by the High Court of Uttarakhand in a bunch of writ petitions which were filed challenging the order issued by the Secretary, Department of Elementary Education, Uttarakhand, Dehradun. The High Court held that the 18 months Diploma in Elementary Education conducted through the Open and Distance Learning mode in elementary education by the National Institute of Open Schooling is a valid Diploma for applying against the regular posts of Assistant Teachers in the State of Uttarakhand. The High Court therefore directed the State to consider the candidatures of the petitioners therein for the said post on the basis of the applications made by them pursuant to the advertisement issued by the Department of Elementary Education, Government of Uttarakhand.



After considering the arguments made by the counsel, the Supreme Court stated, It is evident that the law is trite in that the Government cannot amend or supersede statutory rules by administrative instructions; however, if the rules are silent on a particular issue, it can fill in the blanks, supplement the rules, and issue instructions that are not at odds with the rules already framed. It is a well-established legal principle that an authority cannot issue orders/office memorandums/executive instructions that contradict statutory rules. However, instructions may only be issued to supplement, not replace, the statutory rules.

The Court also stated that there is no doubt that NCTE, as an expert body, has the authority to prescribe minimum qualifications, which it has done in the current case by issuing notifications. It also stated that the recognition order only allows in-service teachers to complete their courses before April 1, 2019. As a result, the supreme court granted the appeals and reversed the High Court’s decision.

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Written by – Surya Venkata Sujith

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