The Delhi High Court has sought response of the Centre on a plea seeking quashing of a CBSE circular allegedly forcing schools to prescribe text books printed by printers empanelled with the NCERT only. Justice A K Pathak issued notice to the Ministry of Human Resource and Development and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and sought their replies on the petition filed by Independent Schools Federation of India.
The plea alleged that certain printers in the panel of NCERT had “conspired” to create a monopoly in matters of publication of books. The petition filed by advocate Ravi Prakash Gupta said the CBSE had in a April 1 circular, issued direction to the affiliated schools to prescribe books only of those publishers which were in the panel of NCERT.
The plea said this would “jeopardise innovation” in the making of the textbooks. “Giving sole responsibility to NCERT textbooks for its prescriptions in schools, will not only monopolise textbook preparation in the country but shall also jeopardise the innovation associated in the making of textbooks.
“Recently, through a circular issued by CBSE, schools are forced to prescribe text books printed only by printers empanelled with the NCERT. This is totally against Rule 15(1) (d) of Affiliation Bye-laws as per which the schools will follow the text books published by NCERT for the Middle Classes as far as practical,” it said.
It further said that NCERT neither has the mandate of publishing school textbooks, nor can it manage ensuring timely preparation and publication or textbooks in all subjects in the entire spectrum of school education, adding that the NCERT has more focused role in research and training.
The plea also claimed that the “text books prepared and published by private schools from other publishers are composed by renowned writers having vast experience in the field of teaching. These writers are far-far better than those recruited by NCERT for composing text books,” it said.