Teachers cannot be deployed on election duty: SC

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New Delhi, Dec 6 (UNI) The Supreme Court today directed the Election Commission to put the teaching staff of government schools on duty for roll revision and election work only on holidays and non-teaching days so that academic activities did not suffer on account of elections.

A bench comprising Justices SB Sinha and Harjit Singh Bedi while dismissing the petition of the Election Commission also directed that teachers should not ordinarily be put on duty on teaching days and during teaching hours.

The Election Commission had challenged the Delhi High Court judgement of August 11, 2004, directing the Election Commission not to put teaching staff on election duty.

Saint Mary's School and others had filed a petition in the High Court seeking directions to the Election Commission not to deploy teachers for election duties as teaching was adversely affected due to non-availability of teachers.

The apex court concluded by observing ''the question if right to exercise franchise whereupon the emphasis is laid by Mr Venugopal is an important one, right to education is also no less important being a fundamental right. In a democratic society a right to education is indispensable in the interpretation of right to development as a human right.

This right to development is also considered a basic human right.

The state of primary education in India is in a deplorable condition. There admittedly is heavy drop out from the schools particularly from among the girl students. Students admitted in government schools ordinarily will be from the middle or lower middle class or poor families.'' UNI

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