Published: 23rd December 2021
PIL in SC demands common curriculum under RTE Act for all students in Classes I-VIII across India
The plea has called two sections of the RTE "arbitrary and irrational" and has said that the centre was discriminatory towards Madrasas, Vedic Patshalas, insitutions imparting religious instructions
Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay has filed a plea in the Supreme Court challenging Sections 1 (4) and 1(5) of the Right to Education Act (2009) for being "arbitrary and irrational". The plea has sought a common syllabus and curriculum for children across the country from Classes I to VIII. The petition said that a common minimum education programme for children up to 14 years would achieve the code of common culture, removal of disparity and depletion of discriminatory values in human relations.
It has called the two sections the "biggest barriers in expounding the Constitution" and accused the Centre of inserting Section 1 (4) and 1 (5) to "deprive" Madrasas, Vedic Patshalas and educational institutions imparting religious instruction of educational excellence. It went on to add that it is the duty of the Union to effectuate a common education system, but the adoption of the pre-existing National Curriculum Framework of 2005 has prevented it from fulfilling that role. The petition said that the absence of a common curriculum in mother languages fosters and perpetuates "ignorance", and the two sections of the RTE (2009) not only offend Articles 14, 15, 16, 21, 21A but are also contrary to Articles 38, 39 and 46 and the Preamble.”
The plea, filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey, said the prevailing system does not provide equal opportunity to all children as the syllabus and curriculum varies for each stratum of the society. "It is necessary to state that the purposive and harmonious construction of Articles 14, 15, 16, 21, 21A with Articles 38, 39, 46 confirms that education is a basic right of every child and the State cannot discriminate against this most important right. Right of a child should not be restricted only to free education, but must be extended to have equal quality education without discrimination on the ground of the child's social economic and cultural background," said the plea. Therefore, the Court may declare Sections 1(4) and 1(5) arbitrary, irrational and violative of Articles 14, 15, 16 and 21 and direct the Centre to implement common syllabus and common curriculum for the students of Classes I-VIII throughout the country," the plea said.