The Telangana High Court on Thursday flayed the state government over unethical practices by the Sri Chaitanya and Narayana groups of junior colleges and pulled up the Board of Intermediate Education (BIE), ordering it to close 68 junior college premises belonging to the two groups.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy, was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by social activist Dantham Rajesh which stated that the two groups were admitting students without getting an affiliation from the BIE, which is mandatory.
The PIL also said that the groups violated several guidelines laid down where fire safety and student well-being were concerned.
During a previous hearing, the HC had asked the BIE what it was doing about the institutes that were holding classes without affiliation and asked how the Board could jeopardise the future of thousands of students who are studying in these colleges.
During the hearing on Thursday, the BIE informed the court that it had issued show-cause notices to the colleges and asked for more time to take action.
It also said that it could not issue closure notices to the colleges as the Intermediate annual examinations were scheduled to be held soon, and they could not cancel the hall tickets that had already been issued to the students. The exams are scheduled to be held between March 4 and March 28.
The bench laid the blame squarely on officials of the BIE and also pointed out that some of the buildings in which these institutions were run, violated fire safety guidelines and were still chosen as exam centres.
Stating that the junior colleges should be shut by March 28 and cannot reopen the next academic year unless they follow all the rules, the court sought a compliance report by April 3 and adjourned the matter to April 7 for further hearing.
Junior colleges in Telangana are known for their gruelling schedule where institutes force students to study for 16 to 18 hours every day, which takes a toll on their mental health and leads to several student suicides each year. The institutes also witness corporal punishment, rote learning and moral policing.