Teachers can’t be compelled to work for census, says High Court

Ipsita Mishra

The judges observed that the work of sixth economic census has no relation with the education. The petition was filed by a teacher who was employed in a school in Bhiwandi. He challenged the show cause notice that was issued to him by the Joint Census Commissioner. The corporation asked St Mary’s School, Vashi, to make 20 teachers available for census duty. The school refused. Reasoning that they were busy with educational duties, the school’s principal told the corporation that only five teachers could be spared. In reply, the civic body warned of ‘penal consequences’ if the school did not comply. St Mary’s stuck to its ground.

The Bombay high court ordered the state cannot force the teachers from private unaided schools into census duty. The government had asked for postponement of exams without consulting the school management. The government uses the many unemployed people as enumerators. The petition stated that there is discrimination against employees of unaided private schools. The state could not summon the staff of unaided schools for government duties since it has no authority over them.

Section 27 of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act states that is ‘no teachers shall be deployed for non educational purposes other than decennial population census, disaster relief duties or duties relating to elections to local authority or State Legislatures or Parliament as the case may be.’ The government resolution dated 25 September shows that sixth economic census has nothing to do with the Census under the Census Act, 1948.