Teachers, principals can’t be forced to perform non-academic duties

Right to Education, RTE
Right to Education, RTE

Teachers are often given duties by the authorities that are not remotely related to teaching. Now, this practice may end soon, as the Delhi High Court has ruled that municipal corporations can’t ask principals and teachers to perform duties outside the purview of the Right to Education (RTE) Act and rules under it. The court said that the civic authorities can’t force teachers to engage in non-academic activities. However, they can take assistance from its teachers for non-academic work.

The court said in its ruling that education is a serious affair, and teachers are regarded as discharging divine duties. The pursuit of excellence must guide every educator, it said. The requirement cannot be treated as “mandatory” and cannot initiate proceedings against them for not providing adequate assistance in non-academic activities, the court stated.

The municipal authorities of Delhi had directed the teachers to conduct non-educational activities, Justice C Hari Shankar set aside the notifications.

Akhil Delhi Prathmik Shishak Sangh, an organisation of municipal corporation school teachers, filed the plea in which it had alleged that the teachers were assigned tasks that are not related to education like opening bank accounts of children and linking them with Aadhaar.

In its Defence, the Delhi government contended that these duties are only incidental and ancillary to the duty of imparting education. The HC was on the same page with the submission of the plea that under the RTE Act, the duty of maintaining the ward education register and conducting the household survey is the job of local authorities and it does not mandate participation of the principals and teachers in these activities.

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