HC reserves verdict on plea to ban teachers’ political activity

KEA allows political rights to aided school teachers

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on a batch of public interest writ petitions seeking a ban on aided school teachers participating in political activities.

The Bench led by Chief Justice S. Manikumar reserved its verdict after the conclusion of the arguments on the petitions filed by Jibu P. Thomas and others.

The petitioners contended that though government school teachers were barred from participating in political activities, including contesting elections, there was no such prohibition on aided school teachers. As per the Kerala Government Servants Conduct Rules, government school teachers were prohibited from taking part in political activities.

The aided school teachers were given political rights as per the Kerala Education Act (KEA) 1951. At that point of time, part II of KEA dealing with compulsory school education was not brought into effect.

However, with the subsequent developments in the education sector such as the enactment of Right to Education Act, the classification of teachers had become unreasonable. Besides, the political activities by teachers would also affect the quality of education.

In fact, the aided school teachers could not be given different treatment as the Right to Education Act mandated imparting quality education both in the government and aided schools, the petitioners pointed out.

The government contended that as per a government order issued in 1967, the teachers of aided schools had been conferred 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.

Source: Read Full Article