Published: 18th May 2022
Centre places stand on record in Delhi HC on plea to make 'Health and Yoga Science' mandatory in schools
The Bench said that it is a policy matter which the government should look into instead of waiting for court orders
The Centre, on Wednesday, May 18, apprised the Delhi High Court that it will place its stand on record on a PIL seeking to make 'Health and Yoga Science' a mandatory part of the curriculum up to Class VIII for the overall development of children.
The court, which said the response by the Centre shall be filed before the next date of hearing, clarified that it cannot evolve a policy and enforce it on the government, as per a PTI report. A Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Dutta, which refused to issue notice on the petition at this stage, said no individual can demand what he thinks is correct to be implemented.
The Bench said that it is a policy matter which the government should look into instead of waiting for court orders. "You do it. Why wait for our orders? We are repeatedly reminded that these are policy matters. Why this hesitation? Do it on your own if it is important. If you think what Mr Upadhyay (petitioner) says has merits, consider it. We will not enter into policy matters. We don't want to take even one step in a direction we cannot pursue. We cannot evolve a policy and thrust it on the government," the Bench said, on the petition filed by lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay.
Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma said he will take instructions in the matter and the court listed the plea for further hearing on November 11. The petitioner sought a declaration that the Right to Education, guaranteed under Article 21A, implies the 'Right to Holistic Integrated Equal Quality Education'.
The plea also sought a direction to the authorities to make 'Health and Yoga Science' a mandatory part of the curriculum up to Class VIII for the overall development of the children as well as enhancing their knowledge, potentiality, talent and development of their physical and mental abilities to the fullest extent in the spirit of provisions of the Right To Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
During the hearing, the Bench asked how it can issue any such direction and said the petitioner was no one to dictate to the government and that there was no question of this court issuing a direction to this government on this. "You are aware there are practices like yoga. You have practices in China and Japan. So why should there be only yoga?" the Bench said. The petitioner said yoga is a part of the National Curriculum Framework of 2005 and it still exists and until the next policy comes, it still goes on and all the schools under the RTE have to follow it.
"This subject should be introduced in the context of all-around development of children. States like Haryana, Gujarat, and Rajasthan are doing it. Delhi is also doing it but not fully. It has not been institutionalised and I am seeking that it should be institutionalised," the petitioner contested.
"Right to Health (Article 21) and Right to Education (Article 21A) are complementary and supplementary to each other. Therefore, it is the duty of the State to make 'Health and Yoga Science' mandatory part of curriculum up to 8th standard in the spirit of section 29 of the RTE Act," the plea stated.
It further added, "Right to health guaranteed under Article 21 includes prevention, protection, and improvement of health and is a minimum requirement to enable children to live with dignity. So, the 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."