From now, CBSE schools cannot appoint principals on their own as the central board and the state education department will have a say in the selection. For, the board has amended its affiliation bylaws making it mandatory for school managements to have representatives of the CBSE and the state education departments on the selection committees for appointment of principals.

According to new rules, the committee must comprise three management nominated members, one independent expert, one CBSE nominee and one or more nominees of the state education department. It means the management's decision can be vetoed.

There has been a long-drawn battle between CBSE schools and the state education department on the issue, with the latter demanding a say in the selection process. Welcoming the CBSE decision, a state education department official said, “In fact, we had sought for this way back in 2010 but the schools weren't even ready to hear our views. Many CBSE school managements look down at us even though they all start off as our affiliates before shifting to the central board.“

Echoing his views, another state education department official said, “Now that the CBSE has changed the rules, the schools have no other choice but to fall in line. We will finally have a role in making decisions for CBSE schools, which will help to ensure that all rules and regulations laid down by the state are implemented properly .“

Schools, however, are unhappy with the decision, with many terming it an “unnecessary intrusion“. The trustee of a CBSE school said, “There's a saying `if it isn’t broke, don't fix it'. The CBSE has most probably given in to pressure from states and added this clause. Our selection methods are transparent and follow the norms.“

Another trustee of a CBSE school, who also runs a college, said, “This new rule will only add friction in the selection process. For long, the state education officials have held a grudge against the top CBSE schools and this will be like `payback' time.“

This decision is another shot in the arm for state education officials, who are apparently having a cold war with CBSE schools. TOI reported on Wednesday how the central board has brought back its mandatory no objection certificate (NOC) rule for schools seeking its affiliation. So schools seeking CBSE affiliation will have to submit an NOC from their home state along a certificate of recognition. The reason an NOC is required is because every school starts off as a state board affiliate.