Published: 25th November 2022
Karnataka: Private schools seek permission to draft own textbooks
On Thursday, November 24 the HC reserved the case for judgment after the government failed to file any objections
Karnataka High Court has reserved a 1995 petition challenging the various provisions of the Karnataka Education Act, 1983. This is what provisions challenged: Include the reservation for appointment of staff in unaided schools and prescription of the syllabus by the State government. On November 24, Thursday, the HC reserved the case for judgment after the government failed to file any objections, as stated in a report by PTI.
It was the private schools in Karnataka which have approached the High Court of Karnataka, seeking among other things, permission to draft textbooks on their own. In their petition, the Karnataka Unaided Schools Managements' Association (KUSMA) sought, "the State government ought not to prescribe any particular publication or textbook as the sole and exclusive reading material in private unaided schools; and that, private unaided schools are free to choose a textbook of their choice so long as such textbooks adhere to the syllabus prescribed by the State government."
In this regard, the provisions of the Karnataka Education Act, 1983 have been challenged. Further, several other provisions of the Act have been challenged by KUSMA. To name a few, Section 5 read with Section 41(3), which prescribes reservation in the matter of appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff in private unaided schools.
What does the petition say?
It has sought for the striking down of the above-mentioned Section as unconstitutional. Followed by seeking direction to the State government not to enforce the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education, which imposes reservation of seats in favour of weaker sections and disadvantaged groups in private unaided schools.
Additionally, another challenge is made to Section 7(1)(f) of the same Act. The petition states that private unaided educational institutions should be allowed to "determine a reasonable fee structure and to not be subject to a rigid and stereotypical fee structure imposed by the government."
It was on Thursday, November 24, the petition came up for hearing before the bench of Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Vishwajit Shetty. KUSMA's advocate KV Dhananjay pointed to the recent controversy about Savarkar in Karnataka government textbooks. Further, he gave an example of the 1984 Sikh riots saying even Sikh schools cannot teach them. Now, the case has been reserved for judgment, as stated in a report by PTI.