The National Council for Education, Research and Training (NCERT) has attributed the shortage of text books to the sudden increase in demand by seven states.
In its reply filed to the Delhi High Court last week, the NCERT said: "Sudden increase of demands of books is because of the fact that Haryana, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal, Goa, Kerala, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh introduced NCERT books in the schools run by the state boards."
The council filed an affidavit in the court of Justice BD Ahmed in response to a petition that blamed the shortage on mismanagement by the council.
The NCERT said that from the academic session 2007-08, it has planned to print 49.8 million copies of all books against a print run of 27.5 million copies last year.
"NCERT has always been sensitive to the issue of shortage of books as it directly affects the students," said the reply.
The high court had issued notices earlier to the central government and the NCERT over the unavailability of text books of various subjects and classes.
Counsel Sugriv Dubey and Namita Roy, appearing for the parents of two school children, had submitted that the NCERT had so far published merely 7.6 million books against a requirement of 25 million books across the country.
These books are required for students studying between classes 6 and 12 in various Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) - affiliated schools in India.
"For the last two years, the books were not made available up to July, due to connivance of the NCERT authorities with some private publishers. The shortage of books was created deliberately for unlawful gains, so that the students would purchase books of the private publishers available at exorbitant prices," said the petition filed by Avdhesh Kumar Chaubey.
The books are so scarce that some of them are only available at the NCERT counter. Students are forced to purchase the books from the only counter standing in a long queue the whole day, alleged the petition.
It sought a court direction to the government and NCERT to make arrangements for publishing and supplying books before the academic sessions starting in April every year.