In a significant development, the Supreme Court has dealt a major setback to B.Ed candidates across the nation. The highest judicial authority of the land has upheld the decision of the Rajasthan High Court, effectively dismissing the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCPE) and the Central Government. This decision comes in the context of the Level-1 of Class III Teacher Recruitment Examination.
Following the Supreme Court's ruling, only holders of BTC Diplomas will now be eligible to participate in the Level-1 of the Class III Teacher Recruitment Examination. This decision holds particular consequences for Rajasthan, where the impact will be felt acutely. The decision underscores the Supreme Court's alignment with the stance taken by the Rajasthan High Court, which is set to reshape the landscape of teacher recruitment.
On Friday, a division bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishankaul in the Supreme Court heard petitions from Mukesh Kumar and others, including the SLP of the NCPE and the Central Government. During the hearing, senior advocate Dr. Manish Singhvi presented the government's stance on behalf of the state government, while Advocate Vigyan Shah represented the diploma holders.
After evaluating arguments from both sides, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the Rajasthan government's notification. This notification had been overturned by the Rajasthan High Court, which had deemed B.Ed. degree holders ineligible for teaching classes 1 to 5. The Supreme Court maintained the decision of the Rajasthan High Court and also dismissed the SLP of the NCPE and Central Government.
The Supreme Court's ruling has provided significant relief to BTC candidates nationwide. Conversely, B.Ed candidates have been met with a substantial setback. The decision affects hundreds of thousands of B.Ed graduates in Rajasthan. Following this verdict, only BTC diploma holders will qualify for the third-grade teacher recruitment exam at Level-1. Previously, the NCPE had extended eligibility to B.Ed candidates for Level-1. In 2018, the NCTE issued a notification indicating that B.Ed degree holders would also be eligible for the REET Level-1. Successful B.Ed degree holders at Level-1 would be required to complete a six-month bridge course with placement. In Rajasthan, BTC diploma holders protested for the inclusion of B.Ed degree holders in REET Level-1, leading the matter to the Rajasthan High Court.
The NCTE's notification was legally contested in the High Court, while those with B.Ed qualifications appealed for inclusion in Reet Level-1. The High Court's decision excluded B.Ed holders from Level-1. In response, the NCTE and the Central Government advocated for B.Ed holders and appealed the Rajasthan High Court's decision in the Supreme Court.