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Rapping the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the Madras High Court today granted interim stay on its circular making it mandatory for schools following CBSE curriculum to use only NCERT books. The CBSE had earlier allowed students to buy books published by private publishers but later issued a circular saying they use only those published by the NCERT. Passing the order, Justice N Kirubakran said, "In the middle of the academic year, the CBSE cannot issue a circular prohibiting usage of private publishers' books." The judge said the circular dated April 6, 2017, was the earlier one dated February 6, 2014, which was being followed by CBSE schools. "However, it is open to the CBSE to conduct an inquiry and find out the books which are costly, voluminous, unscientifically designed and not fit for school curriculum published by the private publishers and direct the schools not to buy the books from next year onwards..." The judge said, "First of all, CBSE has to be blamed for allowing the schools to buy private publishers' books, without even verifying the quality, voluminosity and other contents of the books." "Moreover, when the 2014 circular itself enables the CBSE schools to purchase books both from NCERT and private publishers, the present impugned order, without giving details, cannot be passed.
In view of that, there shall be an order of interim stay as prayed for." Though the judge granted the interim stay, he directed all the schools to file separate petitions by paying a court fee of Rs 1000 each. The judge also directed that the payment has to be made within one week from today, failing which the court will "pass appropriate orders." The judge passed the interim order on a petition by an association of managements of 287 private schools following the CBSE curriculum.