A public interest litigation has been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking directions on the Centre and the Delhi Government to make "Health and Yoga Science" a mandatory part of curriculum up to 8th Standard for an overall development of the children as well as development of their physical & mental abilities in spirit of Section 29 of the Right to Education Act, 2009.
Filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, the plea seeks a declaration that the Right to Education, guaranteed under Article 21A of the Constitution of India implies Right to Holistic Integrated Equal Quality Education.
It also 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.
Stating that education is the most important fundamental right as other rights are meaningless without implementing it effectively, the plea avers thus:
"So, 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."
The plea further adds that Article 21A was inserted to provide a holistic integrated uniform education to all children aged 6-14 years as a fundamental right and subsequently the Right to Education Act was enacted.
"The legislation is anchored in the belief that values of equality, justice and democracy and creation of a just and humane society can be achieved only through provision of holistic integrated uniform education to all. The Provision of free-compulsory education of equal quality to disadvantaged and weaker section children is, therefore, not merely responsibility of schools run/supported by the appropriate governments, but also of schools, which are not dependent on government funds," it adds further.
While submitting that after enactment of the RTE Act, study of Health & Yoga Science has become a right of 6-14 years children, the plea argues that the same has however remained "named-sake on papers and is the most neglected subject."
"Marks are not awarded for Health & Yoga Science in annual exam and even the teachers of Kendriya Vidyalaya and Navoday Schools say that Health & Yoga Science is not a compulsory subject," it adds.
"Yoga is not only an excellent and powerful means of self-control but also an emotional and practical process for diverting the flow of our thought arising in our mind in any state towards a positive direction as well as an excellent method of developing the life skills. In every person there are on one hand, limitless divine qualities and potential of becoming a superman, a great scientist, a philosopher, a thinker, a manager or an efficient administrator; while on the other hand, there are impure cruel thoughts, which can make him an extremely ruthless beast, a devil, a criminal or a terrorist."
Case Title: ASHWINI KUMAR UPADHYAY v. UNION OF INDIA & OTHERS