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'Policy Matter': Delhi HC Disinclined To Issue Notice On Plea To Make Health & Yoga Science Mandatory In Schools, Seeks Status Report

18 May 2022 8:12 AM GMT
Policy Matter: Delhi HC Disinclined To Issue Notice On Plea To Make Health & Yoga Science Mandatory In Schools, Seeks Status Report

The Delhi High Court today expressed its discinlciation to issue notice on a PIL filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, seeking directions on the Centre and the Delhi Government to make "Health and Yoga Science" a mandatory part of school curriculum up to 8th Standard.

A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Datta was of the view that the same is a "policy decision" which the Court cannot interfere with in writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution.

"You are nobody to dictate this to the government. You have raised an issue, raise it with the government. There is no question of this court issuing direction on this issue. It's a purely policy decision," Justice Sanghi orally told Upadhyay.

The plea seeks to declare that the Right to Health and Right to Education are complementary and supplementary to each other and therefore, it is duty of the State to make "Health and Yoga Science" mandatory part of curriculum up to 8th Standard.

Upadhyay insisted that the plea does not involve a policy matter as it raises an important issue pertaining to citizens' fundamental right to health enshrined under the Constitution. "State has not only a constitutional obligation to provide "Health and Yoga Education" to children but also to ensure the creation and sustaining of conditions congenial to good health. Article 21 read with Articles 39 and 47, casts the duty on the State to take appropriate steps to improve health of the citizens particularly children and provide necessary information instruction training and supervision in this regard," he submitted.

The Bench however said that no individual can demand implementation of a policy which he thinks is correct. "There are other practices like yoga. You have practices in Japan and China. So therefore, why should it be yoga only? You are nobody to dictate this..." Justice Sanghi said.

ASG Chetan Sharma, appearing on advance notice for the Centre, also informed the Court that India has been on the forefront for promoting Yoga, both at national as well as international level, and thus sought time to seek instructions in the matter.

"Then you do it. Why wait for our orders? Why this hesitation? This is a matter of policy, if you feel this has merit, do it on your own. We don't want to take even one step in a direction that we can't pursue. Ultimately our hands our tied," Justice Sanghi said.

The Bench therefore granted time to the Centre to file a status report in the matter, however, no formal notice has been issued.

"Even before we could issue notice, ASG Chetan Sharma appearing on advance notice for the Centre states that Respondents would take instructions in the matter. In light of the aforesaid, we adjourn this matter. Let response of Respondent be placed on record," the order stated.

Case Title: Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India

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