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SC stays HC decision barring aided school teachers from contesting polls

Topics Covered: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

SC stays HC decision barring aided school teachers from contesting polls:


Context:

The Supreme Court has stayed a Kerala High Court decision barring aided school teachers and non-teaching staff from contesting Assembly elections or engaging in political activities.

What’s the issue?

The High Court had declared Section 2 (IV) of the Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualifications) Act of 1951, which allowed aided school teachers to become legislators, as unconstitutional.

Petitioners in the High Court had challenged the 1951 law, saying their participation in politics would affect the quality of education.

  • They had argued in the High Court that since Kerala Government Servants Conduct Rules prohibits government school teachers from taking part in political activities, the rule should extend to aided school teachers also.

What the government says?

The government had contended in the High Court that as per a government order issued in 1967, the teachers of aided schools had political rights.

  • There were no Rules or Act prohibiting them from not participating in political activities or contesting the elections. Besides, special leave without pay could be granted to aided teachers elected to local bodies and Assembly.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who can contest in Assembly elections?
  2. Who is debarred from contesting in Elections?
  3. Who can cast their vote in Assembly Elections?
  4. Assembly vs Panchayat elections.

Mains Link:

Participation of teachers in politics would affect the quality of education. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.