Monday, August 8, 2011

Grant-in-aid teacher not govt employee: HC

The Gujarat high court on Monday ordered Mehsana district authorities to reinstate Ramila Desai as president of Kheralu taluka panchayat. She works as a teacher in a grant-in-aid school managed by Kheralu nagarpalika.
Desai was elected as a member of the taluka panchayat in October ’10, and contested for the post of president because the post was reserved for women. She defeated Neeta Chaudhary by one vote. After Desai became president, Chaudhary complained before district authorities that Desai is an employee of the nagarpalika, and therefore cannot hold primary membership of the civic body. This automatically disqualified her to contest election for the post of president. She was declared disqualified for the post and later removed.
Desai moved the high court claiming she was targeted because she supports the Congress party, while the authorities acted at the behest of the ruling BJP. A single-judge bench turned down her petition seeking to reinstate her on the position. However, when the order was challenged before a division bench, it ordered the authorities to reinstate her saying that working in a grantin-aid school managed by the local civic body does not make a person employee of the civic body. Therefore, there is no violation of Gujarat Panchayat Act, which restricts government employees and employees of the local authorities from contesting public election.

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