The Supreme Court of India, in a major development today (January 6, 2020) has upheld the constitutional validity of the West Bengal Madrasah Service Commission Act, 2008 which sets up an independent body for appointing teachers in minority institutions. According to this law, Government will now have the liberty to not only recommend potential teachers for appointment but also appoint them directly for teaching at minority institutions.
A Division Bench comprising of Justice UU Lalit and Justice Arun Mishra was hearing a plea against the order of the Calcutta High Court that had declared the Act as unconstitutional. The Apex Court granted interim relief by saying that the appointments made by the Commission under the Act till date shall remain valid and the salaries of such appointees to be released immediately in public interest.
Section 8 of the aforementioned Act, states that “notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force or in any contract, custom or usage to the contrary, it shall be the duty of the Commission to select and recommend persons to be appointed to the vacant posts of teachers.”
A plethora of petitions had been filed challenging the act in the Calcutta High Court contending that the funding authority, i.e., the Government can only formulate policies for appointment but not make those appointments itself. It was alleged to be violative of Article 30 of the Constitution of India which gives a constitutional right to minorities to establish and administer their own educational institutions with autonomy and minimum government interference.