SC Dismisses Plea For Making Teaching Of Yoga Mandatory In Schools

SC Dismisses Plea For Making Teaching Of Yoga Mandatory In Schools

The Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL which sought a direction to make Yoga compulsory in schools across India.
A bench headed by Justice Madam B Lokur said it was not for court to design curriculum for schools "Government and its experts, were the right forum to do it you may approach them", the bench said.

"There is indeed a fundamental right to education but there is no fundamental right to do Yoga under this right," the court said.

The bench added: "We can't decide what is to be taught... that's for the government to do."

The petitioners said that there have been notifications issued by the Central government in this regard, but the bench pointed out no judicial order could be passed to include any subject in the curriculum.

The Centre in its affidavit told the Supreme Court that yoga cannot be an enforceable fundamental right under the Right To Education Act.

In November last year the apex court had sought Centre’s response on the PIL for making yoga a compulsory subject in schools citing Section 7(6) and 8(g) and (h) of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, and the National Curriculum Framework (NCF).
"RTE Act does not specifically mention about the curriculum of yoga. As such, it cannot be concluded that yoga education has become an enforceable fundamental right. Yoga is an integral part of the curriculum of 'Health and Physical Education', which is a compulsory subject for Classes 1 to 10. To that extent, yoga has not been neglected in school education”, HRD ministry informed the SC in an affidavit.

SC  had  asked the Centre to take a decision regarding making the ancient practice of yoga mandatory in schools for students aged between six and fourteen. A bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel was acting on separate petitions filed by lawyers J C Seth and Ashwini Kumar Upadhyaya seeking imparting yoga training in schools.

Upadhyaya’s plea sought a direction to the ministry of human resources development, National Council Of Educational Research And Training (NCERT), National Council For Teacher Education (NCTE) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to “provide standard textbooks of ‘yoga and health education’ for students of Class I-VIII keeping in spirit various fundamental rights such as right to life, education and equality”.

The Centre also saideducation figured in the concurrent list and a majority of schools were under the control of states and Union Territories. Hence, it was for states and UTs to ensure compliance of the provisions of NCF, under which yoga is an integral part of 'Health and Physical Education' at all levels of school education, it said.

"Implementation of various subject areas, including yoga, depends upon states and UTs concerned," an official said. "NCF 2005 provides that yoga may be introduced from the primary level onwards in informal ways, but formal introduction of yoga exercises should begin only from Class 6 onwards," it said. "So far as schools affiliated to Central Board of Secondary Education are concerned, which has adopted NCERT curriculum and syllabi, 'Health and Physical Education' is compulsory for Class 1 to 10 and optional at Classes 11 and 12," the Centre said.