Bombay High Court: A Bench of R.K. Deshpande and S.M. Modak, JJ., dismissed a bunch of petitions filed by various aided colleges and their teaching staff while directing that they cannot avoid the performance of election duty in the upcoming General Elections.

In exercise of powers conferred by Section 159 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the respondents called upon the petitioners to perform election duties. This action was challenged by the petitioners.

Having considered the Supreme Court decision in Election Commission of India v. St. Mary’s School, (2008) 2 SCC 390, the High Court reiterated that the teaching staff cannot be called upon to perform election duty on working days. However,, in the present case, University examinations were rescheduled, and thus the petitioners could be conveniently called to perform election duties on the day of polling and one day before and after the day of polling. Holding that teaching staff cannot avoid the performance of election duty, and the failure thereof may attract disciplinary action, the High Court dismissed the petitions. [Shri Gadge Maharaj Mahavidyalaya v. Election Commission of India, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 600, dated 04-04-2019]

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