‘Open to teachers to raise concerns with authorities in case of personal difficulties’, Rajasthan HC rejects plea seeking instructions to declare not to deploy teachers as BLOs
The High Court of Rajasthan has dismissed written petitions requesting the Respondent State not to deploy teachers as a Cabin Level Officer (“BLO”) in view of the provisions of the Right of Persons Act 2009. children to free and compulsory education.
The court observed that it is always open to teachers to approach the authority concerned in any particular case of personal difficulties. The court considered that the authority concerned was expected to examine the grievance raised and, if necessary, to be deemed justified in order to remedy it appropriately.
Judge Arun Bhansaliwhile noting that the plea raised in the motions is unfounded, judged,
“However, with regard to the personal difficulties of a teacher in a given case, he is always free to approach the authority concerned in this respect and the authority concerned is expected to examine the grievance raised and, if so, found to be justified to remedy it in an appropriate manner. With the above observations, no case of interference is established in the present motions in brief. The motions in brief are, therefore, dismissed. “
Furthermore, the petitioners, relying on the circulars issued by the Department of Education dated 18.10.2011 and 01.06.2012, requested a specific instruction that, like the Department of Education itself ordered that teachers may not be deployed for said work, respondents be urged not to deploy teachers as petitioners as BLO.
In their response, the respondents stated that a communication from the Departmental Secretary to the Director of Primary Education was issued on 27.08.2015 specifically stating that teachers can be deployed as BLOs and therefore previous communications being replaced by the communication of 27.08.2015, the applicants’ invocation is erroneous.
The court continued section 27 of the Children’s Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 and held that it deals with the prohibition of the deployment of teachers for non-educational purposes, as exception, provides that teachers may, inter alia, be deployed for duties relating to elections to the local authority or to the state legislature or parliament, as the case may be, and it cannot be said that the work of BLO would not fall into that category.
The court also observed that a list of 13 government/semi-government employees was given in the voter roll handbook, who could be deployed as BLOs. The court held that the claimants had not kept records showing the percentage of teachers deployed/delegated as BLOs versus other employees and as such the requirement of the manual of minimum teacher writing was not followed by the respondents.
Moreover, the court added that the designation of a voter of the polling station as a BLO is concerned, the manual indicates “as far as possible” and therefore, the petitioners cannot request the application of the said condition in order to be relieved of their duties as BLO.
The court noted that the petitions were mainly filed relying on the circulars of the year 2011 and 2012. In addition, the court continued the circular issued on 27.08.2015 and found that said circular clarified every aspect regarding the engagement of teachers as BLOs and for any other non-teaching work and, therefore, the plea sought to be raised in this regard on the basis of the previous circulars has practically no longer any basis.
Counsel for the Claimants argued that the voter roll handbook issued by the Election Commission of India provides for 13 categories of government/semi-government employees, who can be deployed as BLOs and the same provision provides further that teachers should be drafted as a minimum as a BLO. and hence, the respondents are not justified in deploying teachers as BLOs and that the BLO should only be a local person.
He also argued that even in cases where there are obvious difficulties for teachers to work as BLOs, as in some cases where the school has only three teachers and all three teachers have been deployed as BLOs, which results in hardship for teachers as well as students and therefore, the said action of the Respondents is not warranted. He added that this deployment is contrary to the provisions of article 27 of the law and, in this respect also, the action of the respondents consisting in deploying the teachers as BLO deserves to be stopped.
Counsel for the Respondents maintained that the plea in question is unfounded because it is based on the circulars of 2011 and 2012. He added that with regard to the manual on voter lists, this only indicates that whenever possible, the BLO should be a voter in the polling station where he is designated as a BLO, which cannot be interpreted as a mandatory condition. It has also been argued that teachers are only deployed in cases where teachers are to be delegated as BLOs and that the petitioners’ submission has no basis as section 27 of the Act actually provides that teachers may be delegated for electoral work.
Adv. Dinesh Kumar Ojha appeared on behalf of the petitioners while Adv. Utkarsh Singh for AAG Sunil Beniwal appeared on behalf of respondents.
Case title: Mahesh Swami v. state of rajasthan
Quote: 2022 LiveLaw (Raj) 99