Allahabad HC dismisses PIL seeking introduction of mandatory religious education in school [Read Order]

Allahabad HC dismisses PIL seeking introduction of mandatory religious education in school [Read Order]


Our attempt should be to suggest and persuade, not command or impose, observed Justice Dr. Vijay Laxmi.


The Allahabad High Court has held that Courts cannot impose upon the State a particular policy for imparting any form of religious instruction or education about religion and it is for the Parliament or the concerned legislative assembly that has the competence to do so.

Hindu Front for Justice, through its PIL, had prayed for introduction of compulsory religious education right from class I to the Post Graduate level and also provide for a syllabus for research of such education. A specific prayer was also made that the prescription of the syllabus should also include different aspects of Islamic religion including the advent of Islam and encourage the study of Islamic literature as a source of Islam. According to them, such preaching by way of compulsory education would bring about rational understanding of all religions and would remove intolerance in the society.

Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi observed that lessening of differences and understanding the common tenets of novel values would lead towards a sound bondage between different communities. But, the Court refused to issue a mandamus to the state in this regard.

Referring to Justice DM Dharmadhikar’s observation in Aruna Roy vs. Union of India that Courts cannot compel that a particular practice or tradition followed in framing and implementing the policy, the Court held: “the Courts cannot impose upon the State a particular policy for imparting any form of religious instruction or education about religion and it is for the Parliament or the concerned legislative assembly that has the competence to do so. It is the appropriate government which has to decide as a matter of policy to introduce the imparting of religious education and the manner of such imparting is for the expert bodies to recommend.”

In a concurring opinion, Justice Dr. Vijay Laxmi observed: “We must habituate the students to right emotions, induce in them the formation of good moral, mental and physical habits. Our attempt should be to suggest and persuade, not command or impose. The best method is to teach them by personal example. The books should contain not moral lessons but lives of great men and women which exemplify the living of great thoughts and noble emotions. A relevant study of the essentials of all religions would be uniquely rewarding as a step towards building character in our children and to bring harmony between religions which is in consonance with the spirit of our country.”

Justice Dr Vijay Laxmi further observed: “We must habituate the students to right emotions, induce in them the formation of good moral, mental and physical habits. Our attempt should be to suggest and persuade, not command or impose. The best method is to teach them by personal example. The books should contain not moral lessons but lives of great men and women which exemplify the living of great thoughts and noble emotions.”

Hindu Front for Justice, has filed PILs before Allahabad High Court in the past too. Its challenge to the addition of the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ to the Preamble of Constitution, was dismissed by the High Court, in January 2016. Read Live Law story on it here. In another instance, the High Court had held that blocking 25% of the benefits in a Pension scheme in favour of minorities is not invalid and had dismissed PIL by Hindu Front for Justice. Its challenge against banning use of DJs in a religious procession, was also dismissed by the High Court.

Read the order here.