Human Resource Development
Highlights of the Bill
- The Bill seeks to set up Educational Tribunals at the national and state level to adjudicate disputes involving teachers and other employees of higher educational institutions and other stakeholders such as students, universities and statutory regulatory authorities.
- The state tribunals shall adjudicate cases related to service matters of teachers and other employees of higher educational institution; dispute over affiliation of a higher educational institution with an affiliating university and unfair practices of a higher educational institution prohibited by any law.
- The national tribunal shall adjudicate cases of dispute between higher educational institutions and statutory authorities; higher educational institution and affiliating university (in case of central universities), and any reference made to it by an appropriate statutory authority. It shall have appellate jurisdiction on orders of the state tribunals.
- An order of the tribunal shall be treated as decree of a civil court. If orders of the national or state tribunal are not complied with, the person shall be liable to imprisonment for a maximum of three years or with fine of upto Rs 10 lakh or with both.
Key Issues and Analysis
- The composition of the tribunals may not be in conformity with certain broad principles laid down in a recent Supreme Court judgement.
- In the state educational tribunals, only the Chairperson is a judicial member. However, the Bill allows the two members to hear cases if the chairperson’s seat is vacant. This provision leaves the possibility of cases being heard without a judicial member.
- The Bill requires members of both tribunals to be at least 55 years old. This is higher than the minimum age required for other high offices.
- One of the stated purposes of the Bill is to provide for speedy resolution of disputes because of increased litigation. However, no data on the number of pending cases is available in the public domain.
- The Standing Committee has made several recommendations. They suggest that there should be flexibility in the number of tribunals in each state, and each such tribunal should have five members.