SC Denies Plea For Common Syllabus, Dismisses Writ Petition Praying ‘One Nation, One Education Board’

The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice AM Khanwilkar on Friday dismissed the writ petition filed by Ghaziabad primary school teacher Neeta Upadhyay praying for a common syllabus and curriculum for all children between the age of 6 and 14 years.

It was submitted on behalf of the petitioner, represented by senior counsel Sajan Poovayya, that the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2005, enacted with a view to give effect to the provision of compulsory education up till the age of 14 years under Article 21 A of the Constitution, envisages a  common syllabus and a common curriculum to ensure equality of opportunity to all for the purpose of Article 16 and the Preamble, and to enable every child to be placed on a level playing field for the challenges of the future.

Chief Justice Misra, refuting the prayer of the petitioner, observed that the education boards, of the Centre and the states, and the schools affiliated thereto are entitled to the liberty to determine the content of the subjects they wish to teach and the education they wish to impart to their students.

The Chief Justice enquired about the subject the present petitioner taught and on being informed that, being a primary school teacher, she taught several elementary level subjects to her students, the Chief Justice, on a humorous note, remarked, “Ask her to teach History and Mathematics”, with a view to explain the feasibility of a common curriculum.

The apex court also denied permission to withdraw the petition with liberty to seek appropriate remedy and proceeded to dismiss the same.

The petition had also sought a direction from the top court to the Centre for the establishment of ‘One nation, One Education Board’ regime to ameliorate the issue of ineffective curricula and disparity of knowledge on account of a multiple-board system.