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Report No. 123

Structure

7.2. The Law Commission is of the opinion that a three-tier structure would be necessary for effectively handling all sorts of disputes in the field of education. The three-tiers would include the grass-root level, State level and an all-India level.

7.3. Dealing with the question of structure, it must at once be stated that the proposed Central Educational Tribunal is not to replace the grievance handling machinery which each university must provide for settling the disputes arising between the university and its students, university and members of its teaching faculty, university and its karamcharis as a forum at the grass-root level. It must be easily and expeditiously accessible and must be of such a nature as to inspire confidence among the disputants coming before it. Therefore, as the fist step, every university must set up a grievance handling forum.

It must be of a participatory model inasmuch as all the affected interests in the university should be represented in it, the access to which must be unimpeded by .any technicalities. It must follow principles of natural justice. It must handle disputes expeditiously. It must give reasons for its decision. The Law Commission need not suggest any specific model. The model to be devised by each university must answer the aforementioned minimum requirements. The most important thing a university must provide is that the disputes coming before it must be resolved within a reasonably short time, not exceeding in any case six months.

7.4. Broadly stated, the grievance handling machinery must be in a position to deal with admissions to the university and affiliated colleges, malpractices at examinations, disciplinary action against students and even students' complaints against the members of the teaching staff or even such problems as inadequacy of facilities for effective educational programme. This forum must have a separate wing for dealing with the disputes between the university and members of its teaching faculty as well as between the affiliated colleges and teachers employed therein, covering all aspects of general conditions of service but excluding pay scales, dearness allowance and other perks.

7.5. The next tier in the vertical hierarchy must operate at the State level. At one stage, the Law Commission was not impressed by the suggestion that there must be a State level tribunal. But it was said that for easy accessibility, a State level tribunal is a sine qua non. It was apprehended that otherwise all the petty disputes dealt with by grass-root level tier will land into the Central Educational Tribunal and unnecessarily dog its dockets. This approach discloses sensitivity and logic. Therefore, even though the working paper issued by the Law Commission did not envisage a State level tribunal, the national debate supports setting up of such a tribunal. Accordingly, every State shall set up a State level educational tribunal. It will have both original and appellate jurisdiction.

Where vital matters of policy are involved affecting teachers, students and university administrators, the matter can be brought before the State level educational tribunal enjoying original jurisdiction. What the Commission has in mind is this. There are numerous universities in every State. Chancellors of these universities try to co-ordinate their activities. Even then there are problems where the university administrators on the one hand, teachers on the other and students on the third hand in respect of common problems may not be able to arrive at a solution, such as, the date of examination or postponement of the same. Such problems can be brought before the State Educational Tribunal. This approach would help in removing areas of frustration and every potential dispute can be the subject-matter of discussion and satisfactory solution.

7.6. The State level tribunal will also have appellate jurisdiction over the decisions of the university level grievance handling forum.

7.7. At the apex level, there should be a Central Educational Tribunal or National Educational Tribunal, whatever name befits its status and position. The national level tribunal will also have both original and appellate jurisdiction. Appeals against the decision of the State Level Tribunal would lie to the National Educational Tribunal. Its original jurisdiction would be extensively set out under the heading 'jurisdiction' in this chapter.



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