27 March 2019 2:01 PM GMT
The Delhi High Court has dismissed a challenge against stipulations in a circular issued Directorate of Education, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, to all the schools under it, to follow the textbooks prescribed by the SCERT, NCERT and CBSE. While examining the contentions raised by the Federation Of Educational Publishers In India, the court noted that the...
The Delhi High Court has dismissed a challenge against stipulations in a circular issued Directorate of Education, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, to all the schools under it, to follow the textbooks prescribed by the SCERT, NCERT and CBSE.
While examining the contentions raised by the Federation Of Educational Publishers In India, the court noted that the impugned stipulations in the Circular merely requires schools to follow the textbooks prescribed by these statutory bodies, whose authority to prescribe the textbooks to be followed by the schools is conceded even by the petitioners.
Justice C. Hari Shankar also observed that uniformity of dissemination of education, among students, is a necessity. If schools are to be given an absolute discretion to decide the textbooks from which they will teach the students, it would result in the level of education, and the level of knowledge, being possessed by students of the same class, studying under the same Board and subject, ultimately, to the same examination, being different, which would result in a situation of chaos, ultimately inimical to the interests of the students themselves, the court added. The judge observed:
"Ours is a nation which prides itself on its linguistic, cultural, religious and regional diversity; but this diversity carries, with it, the pernicious threat of inculcation, of ideas and concepts, to children in their formative years, which may be disconsonant with national interest, and, on occasion, even national security. The sowing of extreme and fundamentalist seeds, in impressionable and innocent minds, is not an unknown phenomenon today, and prescribing of common educational media, to be scrupulously followed by schools under the common CBSE umbrella, is but a small step towards controlling this menace."
While dismissing the writ petition, the court observed:
"This Court endorses the mandate, reflected in the said stipulation, to the effect that, in respect of subjects, for which textbooks have been prescribed by the CBSE, and published by the NCERT/SCERT/CBSE, the said prescription shall scrupulously be followed by all schools subject to the control of the DoE. The syllabi and textbooks, prescribed by the CBSE, shall constitute the basis of imparting of education, as well as evaluation, of all schools students, from Classes I to X. Needless to say, this would apply only to schools affiliated to the CBSE."
Before parting with the judgment, the court clarified:
"Should, however, any individual teacher desire to impart knowledge, to her, or his, students, in addition to that which is available in the said textbooks, needless to say, she/he would be at liberty to do so. It is important to distinguish between what is prescribed to be taught, by the competent authority, and what a teacher may teach. A resourceful, knowledgeable, and competent, teacher may have, in her, or his treasury, a wealth of information and learning, transgressing what is contained in the prescribed textbooks, with which she, or he may desire to enlighten her students. No law can prevent her or him from doing so. Dissemination of knowledge is one of the most sacred duties of man, and there can be no curbs, thereon, by any law known to civilised society. We are concerned, in the present case, with the prescribed textbooks, i.e. the textbooks prescribed and which have, therefore, to be taught by the schools, to the students, and on which alone the students would be assessed and evaluated."