In a significant judgment, which will benefit teachers, the Madras high court has held the state government order prescribing a pass in Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) as minimum qualification for teachers, is not applicable to minority institutions, both aided or unaided. Allowing a batch of over 100 petitions from teachers and minority schools and dismissing State Government's appeals, a Division Bench comprising Huluvadi G. Ramesh and Justice M.V. Muralidaran directed the state government to release the salary of teachers and also to pay salary arrears within two months. The bench said the contention of senior counsel A. Xavier Arulraj appearing for minority schools was that when Tamil Nadu Recognised Private Schools (Regulation) Act received the accent of President and it was still in force, it cannot be supplanted by an executive order, namely by GO dated November 15, 2011. Further, the apex court had clearly held that Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act was not applicable to minority institutions. "Therefore, we have no hesitation to hold that the right conferred under Article 30 (1) of the Constitution cannot be abrogated. Consequently, the GO dated November 15, 2011 which was issued pursuant to directions of National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE), cannot be made applicable to minority institutions", the court said. Keeping in mind the larger interest in which government has issued the GO, the Bench, however, said minority institutions may consider conducting a refresher course and also some interactive sessions to all teachers during annual vacation to improve their quality. Pointing out that the government before issuing the GO lost sight of the fact that imposing a condition on teachers who were appointed prior to issue of GO in non-minority and minority schools, both aided and unaided, to qualify themselves with TET within five years, in order to continue in service would cause hardship to them, the Bench said the government may seek clarification from NCTE, whether the minimum qualification of TET can be made applicable prospectively and not retrospectively. If NCTE clarifies that GO can be given prospective effect, government may think of conducting refresher course for teachers appointed prior to issue of GO.