Mumbai: Maharashtra government has told the Bombay High Court it would frame new rules related to mid-day meal for students in aided schools to free principals and teachers from responsibility of implementing the scheme.

The rules would be framed in January wherein the responsibility to supervise and implement the scheme would be taken away from Principals and teachers and given to someone else, Government Pleader Abhinandan Vagyani told a Bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Reveti Mohite-Dhere.

Vagyani made the submission on December 18 when the Court was hearing a PIL filed by Maharashtra Primary Teachers Association which said the free meal programme in its current form increased their workload.

Under the Government-run scheme, added responsibility had been given to the teaching community to supervise its implementation. These include placing orders for food, unloading food articles from vehicles in school premises, maintaining records of stock, distributing meal and checking their quality before being served to pupils.

The PIL argued these responsibilities increased their workload due to which the quality of education suffers. Under Section 27 of the Right to Education Act, non-teaching work cannot be allotted to teachers and Principals except that of Census, elections and disaster relief.

Distribution of food does not fall under any of these categories, the PIL said and prayed for a direction to the state to hand over this responsibility to someone else.

The HC also expressed a view that teachers should not get involved with this programme as they would not get enough time for imparting education which is their primary job.

The Government assured that teachers and Principals would not be asked to implement the food plan for students. A decision would soon be taken on fixing the responsibility for this task on someone else, the pleader said.

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