Transfer Certificate Essential Document for Students, Schools to Issue Within One Week of Application: Madras HC

Transfer Certificate Essential Document for Students, Schools to Issue Within One Week of Application: Madras HC
28.10.2021 | Education News | EduLegaL  | |
The Madras High Court in The United District Self Financing Schools Association Vs. The Government Of Tamil Nadu — W.P.No.16376 of 2021, held that Transfer Certificate (TC) is a necessary and indispensable document for students for changing their schools and directed private self-financing schools to issue TC within one week from the date of application to students without imposing any conditions.
The single-judge bench of the Honorable Justice N. Anand Venkatesh held:

“When an extraordinary situation arises, some leverage has to be given to the State Government to manage the affairs and take policy decisions in the overall interest of the students.”

The petitioner, an association of nearly 297 private self-financed schools including both minority and non-minority schools, submitted that owing to the pandemic several students undergoing financial hardships and inability to pay fees shifted to self-financing schools. Instructions were issued by educational authorities under which schools were to admit students regardless of the availability of a Transfer Certificate. The petitioner stated that this was in contravention to the Code of Regulations for Matriculation Schools and argued that this was having a detrimental impact in carrying out functions of schools as schools were unable to ascertain the number of students continuing their studies and students that had been transferred. As the total number of students could not be ascertained, the petitioner encountered issues primarily budgeting their expenses, as all financial income was based on the fee paid by students.
The respondent-state had submitted that this relaxation was given in the interest of the students so that no student undergoes hardships during these difficult times. There have been instances where the TC was denied on non-payment of fees and the issuance of TC was being used as an arm-twisting mechanism for recovering the fee. Further, the respondent-state acknowledging the prevalent regulations, stated the need for special provisions during circumstances of gravity, in the present case – the pandemic.
However, the court observed that a balanced approach needs to be taken and stated:

“It is true that the interest of the students is of prime importance and it can never be sacrificed. At the same time, without the proper functioning of the self financing schools, the education of the students will be adversely affected. In short, if the interest of the self financing schools is not safeguarded, that will also, in a way affect the education of the students. The self financing schools cannot be left in lurch and their interest must also be taken into account during this pandemic situation. Therefore, a balance must be struck to ensure that the interest of both the students as well as the self financing schools are taken care of.”

Accordingly, the court passed an order with the following directions:

  1. The parents and students have absolute freedom to decide on the continuation or changing of schools
  2. If school is to be changed, application in that regard should be submitted to the transferor school
  3. The transferor school must issue the Transfer Certificate within one week from the date of receipt of the application
  4. Any existing disputes between school and student/parent like pending fee shall be independently worked out in the manner known to the law and such dispute cannot be grounds to deny TC
  5. If any school refuses to issue TC as per this order, a complaint can be made to the concerned Chief Educational Officer (CEO), who will take immediate action. If such a violation is brought to the notice of the court, Suo moto Contempt Proceedings will be instituted.
  6. These directions are operative for the period of the pandemic situation and relevant enactments and regulations will be operative when the situation becomes normal
  7. Commissioner of School Education, DPI Campus, College Road, Chennai 600 006 is directed to issue a circular in this regard within two weeks from receipt of the copy of the order.

Concluding, the Court disposed of the petition with the issue of the above directions.
Vaibhav Karadale | Research Intern | EduLegaL
Swapna Iyer | Legal Editor | EduLegaL

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