SC seeks replies from Centre, CBSE & NCTE on plea for 10 pc reservation for EWS in CTET 2019

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NEW DELHI, May 16 (AGENCIES): The Supreme Court Thursday sought responses from the Centre and CBSE on a plea seeking 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections in the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET), 2019.

Besides the Centre and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), a vacation bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna also issued notice to the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) and asked them to respond to the petition by July 1, the next date of hearing.

The bench was hearing a plea filed by six petitioners, who are aspiring to participate in CTET 2019 and are seeking a direction that benefits of ‘The Constitution (103rd amendment) Act 2019’ be extended to those belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS) of the society. The amendment Act took effect on January 16.

Under the amended Act, the Centre has provided for a 10 per cent reservation to citizens from general category belonging to EWS, in addition to already existing reservation policy for benefit of other reserved categories such as Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, Other Backward Class and physically handicapped.

During the hearing on Thursday, the lawyers appearing for the petitioners told the bench that since the amended Act has been passed by Parliament, its benefit must be given to persons from EWS.

“If we will get this relaxation, we will qualify in the examination. The amendment is aimed for upliftment of the economically weaker section of the society,” the counsel said.

The bench issued notice on the petition and said that it would be heard on July 1.

At the fag end of hearing, the petitioner’s counsel said that the Centre may give suggestions on implementing the Act.

To this, the bench said, “We are not saying anything on this. It is a policy and such decisions are taken by the government. Policy is not for us to decide. In policy decision we do not interfere unless we see any violation.”

The petitioners told the apex court that CBSE published an advertisement on January 23, 2019 for conducting CTET in which benefit of 10 per cent reservation has not been given to EWS candidates.

“The CBSE published advertisement dated January 23, 2019 for conducting CTET, 2019 in which this (reservation) benefit has not been given to economically weaker section and therefore the present writ petition is being filed to make sure that people covered under economically weaker section are given similar benefit like other reserved category (SC, ST and OBC) starting with CTET-2019 advertisement,” their plea has said.

In the previous hearing on May 13, the top court had observed that for qualifying examinations there cannot be any reservation, as it comes into play only during admissions.

“For qualifying examinations there cannot be any reservation. This is wholly misconceived. This (CTET) is merely a qualifying examination. The issue of reservation will come up only at the time of admission,” the bench had said.

The petitioners, in their plea, have challenged the notification issued by the CBSE on the ground of violation of rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

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