In a reminder letter to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), the ministry of Human Resource Development has asked for proof of the board’s validation by the appropriate authority.
The letter, which was obtained by The Telegraph through the Right to Information Act, asked CISCE to give “a copy of the authorisation letter of the appropriate authority to conduct public examination”.
Last year in December, the HRD ministry sent a letter to CISCE asking it to submit documents showing the government’s approval of the memorandum of association and rules and regulations of the council.
According to sources in the ministry, the officials cited a Delhi High Court notice on a petition filed by Jose Aikara, who was removed as chairman of the council in November last year, to justify the letter and the reminder.
Aikara was removed citing financial irregularities and violation of the rules. The matter is pending in the high court.
Though the officials searched for records on the CISCE, they could not find any document that suggested the board was set up by any executive order of the government or by any act of Parliament or Assembly, according to the sources.
However, it has been revealed by other sources that the ministry was just using the opportunity to infuriate the board.
As many as 1.5 lakh Class X students from over 1,900 schools in the country appeared for the board’s Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) examination while over 71,000 Class XII students from more than 900 schools took the Indian School Certificate (ISC) test earlier this year.
According to the Council of Boards of School Education in India (COBSE) general secretary Puran Chand, the CISCE is a legally valid board and has been recognised under a central law passed by Parliament (the 1973 Act).
“The act of Parliament mentions the CISCE. That is sufficient. For us, it is a recognised board,” he said.
The 1973 Act was passed by Parliament with the objective to improve school education in the Union territory of Delhi. Section 2(s) of the act defines a public examination as an “examination conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education, Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations or any other Board which may hereafter be established for the purpose, and recognised by the administrator or any other officer authorised by him in this behalf”.
Gerry Arathoon, CISCE executive officer and secretary, said that it would not be appropriate to comment since the matter is in court.