Shillong, Dec 5: The Meghalaya High Court on Monday quashed a notification which barred teachers in government aided colleges from taking part in political activities and political associations.
In its judgment, Single Bench said, “For the aforesaid reasons, 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.”
The writ petition filed by Assistant Professors of various Government aided colleges against the state government was accordingly disposed of
It was contended by the state that Clause 7.4.3 in the Meghalaya Education Policy, 2018, was incorporated and the impugned notification dated 23.03.2021 issued, to restrict the Aided College Teachers from taking part in political activities and political associations.
It has also been advocated that, the said restrictions have been imposed to instill discipline and order in the recognized schools, and to ensure healthy environment for the growth of children studying in the schools of Meghalaya.
Clause 7.4.3 of the Meghalaya Education Policy, 2018 states: “7.4. Regulation of Higher Education Institutions and Determination of Fees. 7.4.1. ………………… 7.4.2. …………………. 7.4.3. Government and government aided college/university teachers will be barred from taking part in political activities and political associations.”
The court however said a perusal of the above quoted policy, clearly shows that the said policy decision which culminated in the impugned amendment, is directed only against teachers serving in government aided college/university.
“The arguments put up by the respondents that, the impugned amendments are as per the Meghalaya School Education Act, 1981, is misplaced, inasmuch as, the Meghalaya School Education Act, deals specifically with schools, and has no bearing on aided private colleges. The entire defense put up, by way of the affidavit by placing reliance on the Meghalaya School Education Act, 1981, is therefore, not taken into consideration and is disregarded,” it said.
It said the impugned notification amends only the portion of the Aided College Employees Rules, 1960, dealing only with the Conduct and Discipline of the employees of aided educational institutions, as given therein. A conjoint reading therefore of Clause 7.4.3, of the stated policy and the impugned notification dated 23.03.2021, clearly displays that the amendment is specifically directed only against the teachers of aided colleges and universities.
“Therefore as per the discussions made hereinabove 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. 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 court said.