Barhmo Samaj wins landmark ruling from Supreme Court
In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court has ruled that state government cannot interfere in the appointment of teachers in private educational institutions even if it is getting grants from the state.

Allowing a Brahmo Samaj Education Society petition, a Bench comprising Chief Justice S Rajendra Babu and Justice G P Mathur ruled that though the West Bengal Government could fix minimum educational qualification for a teacher, it cannot restrict the societyís right to choose its candidates from among them who possess the eligibility criteria.

"Independence for the selection of teachers among the qualified candidates is fundamental to the maintenance of the academic and administrative autonomy of an aided institution," the Bench said.

"Merely because the petitioners are receiving aid, their autonomy of administration cannot be totally restricted and institutions cannot be treated as a government one," the Bench said adding the government could only impose such conditions as were necessary for the proper maintenance of the standard of education and to check maladministration.

The state government, while contending that the Society did not belong to a religious minority community, had argued that its refusal to abide by the recommendation of an independent statutory authority (College Service Commission) would amount to denying opportunity of appointment to the best available qualified persons as teachers. Without going into the question whether the Society was one belonging to religious minority or not, the apex Court said the petitioners have a right to establish and maintain educational institutions.

Justice Babu, writing for the Bench, extensively quoted from the recent constitution Bench judgement on the rights of aided educational institutions and said the State control over these could not extend to the day-to-day administration of the institution.

The state could regulate the methods of selection and appointment of teachers after prescribing requisite qualification for the same, he said adding, "Only a person who has qualified National Educational Testing (NET) and State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) will be eligible for appointment as a teacher in an aided institution." However, the Bench said "petitionerís right to administer includes the right to appoint teachers of its choice among the NET/SLET qualified candidates."