Meghalaya HC: Government college teachers can contest elections

The High Court observed that the concerned teachers were not found to hold an office of profit and thus quashed the notification
Image is for representational purpose only | (Pic: Express)
Image is for representational purpose only | (Pic: Express)

Can teachers from government-aided colleges in Meghalaya now contest elections? On Monday, December 5, the Meghalaya High Court quashed a 2018 state government policy barring these teachers from contesting elections and holding posts in political parties.

The High Court observed that the concerned teachers were not found to hold an office of profit and thus quashed the notification. The policy was introduced by the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government led by National People's Party leader Conrad K Sangma in 2018, aiming to instil discipline and order among the teachers in the state, as per a report by PTI.

The state government had cited that "schools and colleges should be kept free from politics", to ensure a healthy environment for the growth of the studying children. An order issued on the lines of this policy, barring the involvement of teachers in political activities was issued in March 2021.

However, on Monday, Justice HS Thangkhiew said, "The impugned amendments as given in the impugned notification dated 23.03.2021, amending the Aided College Employees Rules, being the product of a flawed decision-making process, are held to be unsustainable, and as such, the impugned notification is set aside and quashed."

"As per the discussions made and taking into account the settled legal position, the petitioners in the considered view of this court, are not found to hold an Office of Profit, and if, they satisfy the other conditions as laid down in Articles 102(1) and 191(1), cannot be debarred by the rules as amended from contesting in elections or holding political office," the order stated further. The judge added that the government counsel clubbing the aided-college teachers under the purview of the Meghalaya School Education Act, 1981 was "misplaced".

This was because the "policy deals specifically with schools and has no bearing on government-aided and private colleges," the court said. "Further the contention that the government exercises deep and pervasive control over the services of the petitioners and the institutions has not been borne out by the materials on record," the order added, as per PTI.

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