“A mixed school with a co-education helps the children to have healthy trends and isolation of them at this young age would only prove to be detrimental to their growth” the court observed.
The High Court of Kerala, through Justice V.Chitambaresh in Jayasree v Director of Public Instructions & others have held that there is nothing wrong in boys and girls studying together in a school.
The petitioner applied for admission of her daughter to Standard-I of the respondent school, situated in Palakkad District. The petitioner preferred the said school for admission of her daughter as her elder son is already a student of Standard-I of the same school. But the application preferred by the petitioner was rejected by the Headmaster of the school, on the ground that permission of the Education Department is needed to admit girl students to the lower primary section. It was further stated that girl students are not normally admitted to the lower primary section even though the school was a mixed one.
The court based on judicial interpretation and relevant provision contained in, Chapter VI Rule 12(i)of the K.E.R(Kerala Educational Rules) observed:-“all primary schools whether it be lower or upper shall be deemed to be mixed schools and admission thereto shall be open to boys and girls alike. No differentiation can be made between a boy and a girl as regards admission to the lower primary or the upper primary school since it is deemed to be a mixed school. A departure from this course is possible only if the Director of Public Instructions grants exemption in view of certain special circumstances.”
Justice Chitambaresh, upholding the right of girls to study along with boys reasoned his judicial analysis as follows :- “Normally children upto the age of 12 years study in the upper primary section of the School who treat their classmates - girl or boy - alike without any oblique thoughts. A brotherly or a sisterly affection pervades amongst them and a mixed school at least upto the upper primary section as permitted in KER should be encouraged. A mixed school with a co-education helps the children to have healthy trends and isolation of them at this young age would only prove to be detrimental to their growth. It helps the children grow with better discipline and morality.”
Justice Chitambaresh thereafter quashed and set aside the order of rejection, passed by the headmaster insisting for permission from educational authorities, to admit the daughter of the petitioner terming it as ‘obnoxious’ and arbitrary of the relevant provisions of K.E.R. Taking cue from Article 21-A of the Constitution of India, and Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009,the court thereafter, directed the school to grant admission to the daughter of petitioner if she is otherwise qualified.
The court in this regard opined :-“Ext.P4 order refusing admission for the daughter of the petitioner in the lower primary section of the school in the absence of a permission from the Educational authorities is obnoxious. The same is wholly arbitrary and stems from a misreading of Rule 12 (i) of Chapter VI KER which governs the admission of boys and girls alike to all primary schools. Ext.P4 order is quashed and respondents 4 and 5 are directed to grant admission to the daughter of the petitioner in the school if she is otherwise qualified.”
Read the Judgment here.