VPP petitions CM against ban on teachers’ participation in politics

Shillong, Dec 13: The Voice of the  People Party (VPP) has asked the state government to withdraw its recent notification barring teachers from holding office of any political organisation or local bodies.

The VPP delegation led by its president Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit handed over a memorandum to the Chief Minister Conrad  Sangma in this regard.


According to the government notification issued on November 8, employees including teachers, lecturers and professors are barred from holding office of any political organisation or local bodies.

“We have submitted a letter asking the state government to withdraw this notification. This unconstitutional and discriminatory notification must be withdrawn immediately,” Basaiawmoit told reporters after the meeting.

He said the chief minister has assured the delegation that the government will relook into the notification.

“So, we will wait for sometime and see but we will not stop till this notification is withdrawn,” Basaiawmoit added.

He said though the chief minister feels that educationists should concentrate more on education, the  education sector cannot be improved by barring lecturers, professors from participating in politics.

He termed the stand of the government as a  “knee jerk reaction”, and added that the government is trying to prevent such intellectuals from joining his own political party, the VPP.

He wanted the government to follow UGC regulations as the qualifications and service conditions of teachers in universities and colleges in India are governed by the regulations notified by the UGC.

“We know when there is a conflict between the central and state law, the central law always prevails. Therefore, the step taken by the government is very much unconstitutional,” he said.

Basaiawmoit pointed out that on July 18, 2018, the UGC had notified the University Grants Commission (Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and other Measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education) Regulations, 2018.

He pointed out that paragraph 17.0 of the 2018 Regulations deals with the Code of Professional Ethics of Teachers and serial number (iv) of sub para VII of this paragraph states that teachers should “perform the duties of citizenship, participate in community activities and shoulder responsibilities of public offices.”

Basaiawmoit said in May 2019, the UGC made a decision that those teachers in universities and colleges who are elected as Members of Parliament or Members of State Legislature can continue their teaching duties while at the same time execute the functions as MPs and MLAs without the necessity of taking any kind of leave if they so desire. Even when taking leave, there should not be any break in their service.

He added that it has been well established by the Division Bench of the Gauhati High Court in WA. No. 14 of 2001, dated 07-12-2005 that the staff in government aided educational institutions are not government employees.

“What an irony when the government always endorses this order of the high court on one hand and issuing this kind of notification on the other hand. When it comes to the benefit of the teachers, the government always says that they are not government employees but now they issue this notification barring lecturers, professors and teachers as if they are government employees,” he added.

The chief minister was reminded about the  contributions made by members of the teaching community towards the overall development and welfare of the people in the country in general and Meghalaya in particular.

He said the state was able to produce from the teaching community stalwarts in the political field. These included Prof GG Swell, who was instrumental for the establishment of NEHU in Shillong, Prof MN Majaw, who brought about the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) Act, 1971- one of the finest legislations the Meghalaya State Legislative Assembly has ever enacted, Hoover Hynniewta an eloquent member of the 2nd Lok Sabha, Prof R.S. Lyngdoh ,the first Speaker of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly , Prof Alexander Warjri, Prof Korbar Sing, Prof B. Pakem, Dr. B.R. Kharlukhi, Prof P.G. Marbaniang and others.

The VPP chief maintained that any attempt to circumscribe teachers’ activities and contributions will have serious ramifications for the society at large and for the future generations.

He pointed out that the state feels the vacuum left by teachers and this is evident by the lack of quality political leadership and quality debates in the Assembly.

“In fact, the government should encourage teachers to actively participate in politics as we need intellectual people to govern the state. We need people with vision, we need people with vast knowledge – so we will get these types of people from the teaching community,” he said.

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