SC stays HC decision barring aided school teachers from contesting polls

Bench led by CJI issues notice to Kerala government

Published - March 19, 2021 03:48 am IST - New Delhi

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

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde issued notice to the Kerala government while staying the judgment pronounced by the High Court in February.

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. The petitioners had argued that classification of teachers was unreasonable.

The government had however 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.

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