Unaided school teachers get relief from poll duty

The Bombay High Court while giving interim relief to unaided school teachers had asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) not to take any action against teachers who refuse to join election duty and the court will hear the petition in detail on April 1.

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The Bombay High Court while giving interim relief to unaided school teachers, had asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to not take any action against teachers who refuse to join election duty and the court will hear the petition in detail on April 1.

A division bench was hearing a petition filed by the Unaided School Teacher’s Association opposing the Lok Sabha election duty.

According to the petitioner, primary school teachers are being used in every Lok Sabha, state Assembly and municipal election. This year also, the ECI sought a list of primary school teachers working in unaided schools from the state government. The petitioner told the court that aided schools to receive grants from the state government so they are supposed to work for the ECI but during the election, unaided school teachers are called for duty, which is unfair.

The ECI told the court that even if schools are unaided, there is a list of schools registered with the state education department. Therefore, data of schools are easy made available by the state.

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The court then asked the ECI, why don't they use employees of private companies whose names are registered with the state government and why only primary school teachers are asked to do election duties?

In reply, the ECI’s counsel said that primary teachers have understanding and knowledge that private employees don’t therefore, they are being used for the election duty.

The petitioner also argued that the ECI remembers positive things about teachers only when the election approaches. The petitioner also told the court that the Bombay High Court had ordered primary teachers to be kept away from the election duty and sought a similar order from the court.

The court then directed ECI not to take action against such school teachers till April 1.

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