The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the Kerala High Court order barring aided school teachers and non-teaching staff from contesting Assembly elections.
The three judge bench comprising of Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian issued notice while hearing the number of petitions challenging the Kerala High Court order of February 2021.
Senior Advocate V. Giri, who appeared for one of the petitioners, contended that aided school teachers could not be given different treatment as the Right to Education Act is intended to ensure quality education both in government and aided schools.
The counsel argued that the post of teacher in an aided educational institution in Kerala cannot be considered to be an office of profit as the appointment and termination of aided school teachers is done by the manager of the school and not by the state government.
The petitioners further highlighted that aided schools teachers were granted political rights as per the Kerala Education Act (KEA), 1951.
Earlier, the Kerala High Court while considering the PILs, seeking to prevent aided school teachers from contesting Assembly elections, held that a teacher of an aided educational institution, within the state of Kerala, is a person holding an ‘office of profit’ under the government of the State of Kerala and is thus disqualified from contesting in the elections to either the parliament or the state
The High Court further held that Section 2 (IV) of the Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualifications) Act, 1951 is unconstitutional which states that employees of non-governmental educational institutions would not be disqualified for being chosen as a member of the assembly by reason only of his/her holding any office in any non-governmental educational institutions.