Teachers have to do census duty
Teachers of private aided and unaided schools across Maharashtra will have to participate from February 14 in census duty, except for those teaching Std X and XII, so that students’ studies are not affected.
The Bombay high court, in an interim order on Thursday, observed: “The service of teachers will be called for before or after school hours so the working of schools is not paralyzed. However, between March 1 and March 5, 2011, the teachers may be called for extra time.”
The Maharashtra government stated that they have issued orders for requisition of officers from local bodies at the district level.
Additional government pleader Vijay Patil informed the court that 43% requirement for census duty will be taken from local bodies and government departments, not just teachers.
A division bench of Justice P B Majmudar and Justice Amjad Sayed granted partial interim relief to the teachers of private unaided schools and aided minority schools while hearing petitions by the Unaided Schools’ Forum and St Joseph’s High School.
The petitioners had moved court last month seeking that their teachers be exempted from performing census duty as it clashed with exams. Teachers of aided, government or corporation schools have not been covered under the order.
Additional solicitor-general Darius Khambata and advocate Advait Sethna, representing the census authority and the centre, told the court that they would consider schedules of all schools and in case of difficulty, concessions would be granted.
The centre had moved an urgent application early this week seeking deletion of a line in an order passed by the HC on January 24.
The order had said that no coercive action should be taken against teachers of unaided and private schools who refused to participate in census duty.
The centre sought an urgent reprieve, stating that the HC order was affecting census duty. Khambata clarified that the government had not asked any particular school to send all its teachers for duty.
The petitioners’ advocates, Mihir Desai and S C Naidu, argued school managements must decide which teachers to send, which was accepted by the court.
“They cannot ask me to send three Math teachers. I will decide who should be sent so that school work is not affected,” Desai argued.
Khambata agreed with the petitioners’ submissions and said the only condition was that those sent should be able to perform that duty.
Justice Majmudar remarked: “But send teachers who are able to perform the duty, or physical training (PT) teachers will start doing PT in the house (on duty).”
The court observed that the issue had to be sorted out to avoid future problems. “Otherwise, every 10 years, there will be similar petitions,” Justice Majmudar remarked.
The petitions will now be taken up for final hearing on March 15.
Source:Times of India