EC says Maharashtra teachers can't campaign during LS polls, faculty protests | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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EC says Maharashtra teachers can't campaign during LS polls, faculty protests

Apr 16, 2024 09:16 AM IST

EC has announced that it will closely monitor teachers of aided schools who engage in political campaigning while neglecting their assigned duties

Mumbai: In a move aimed at ensuring integrity of the electoral process, the Election Commission (EC) has announced that it will closely monitor teachers of aided schools who engage in political campaigning while neglecting their assigned duties. In a set of guidelines released last week, the EC said immediate action would be initiated against errant teachers.

Mumbai, India - August 10, 2022: A class session in progress at National College, Bandra, in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday, August 10, 2022. (Photo by Vijay Bate/HT Photo) (HT PHOTO)
Mumbai, India - August 10, 2022: A class session in progress at National College, Bandra, in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday, August 10, 2022. (Photo by Vijay Bate/HT Photo) (HT PHOTO)

Associations of teachers raised strong objections to the guidelines and demanded action against officials who issued them, while principals of private schools welcomed the move.

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It has been observed that during elections, representatives of teachers’ organisations associated with various political parties often abandon their teaching duties to participate in campaigning work in the state and other parts of India, said officials.

Considering this, the EC has initiated a system to gather information on teachers’ involvement in political campaigns at the cost of their educational duties.

Jalinder Sarode, working president, Maharashtra Shikshak Sena, said, “Our (teachers’) service rule book does not stop us from participating in any political event. We are surprised by the EC guidelines barring us from participating in political rallies.” Sarode urged the commission not to keep eye on teachers’ political activities.

Nago Ganar, the member of legislative council representing teachers, has written to the EC demanding strict action against officials who issued the guidelines. “As per the Maharashtra Private School Employee Rules, 1981, any employee is free to participate in political rallies or even contest an election without resigning from their post. If the law allows teachers to participate in political rallies, how is any officer stopping us from doing the same,” asked Ganar.

However, a principal from a private school welcomed the guidelines. He said teachers’ unions had for long been demanding exemptions from election work for those engaged in examination-related duties. “While the commission has granted such exemptions, some teachers assert that action should be taken against their colleagues who neglect their educational responsibilities to engage in election campaigning,” he noted.

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