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SC dismisses plea to make yoga compulsory in schools

Bench headed by Justice M B Lokur dismisses plea seeking framing of a national yoga policy and making the practice compulsory for students of classes 1 to 8 across the country

education Updated: Aug 08, 2017 12:36 IST
A Supreme Court bench said on Tuesday that it had no business to direct what was to be taught in schools . It was responding to a plea to make yoga compulsory in schools.
A Supreme Court bench said on Tuesday that it had no business to direct what was to be taught in schools . It was responding to a plea to make yoga compulsory in schools.(HT Photo)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court dismissed on Tuesday a petition seeking a direction to make yoga compulsory in schools.

“There is fundamental right to education but there is no fundamental right to do yoga under this right,” a bench headed by Justice MB Lokur said, rejecting petitioner and advocate JC Seth’s plea to direct the Centre to include yoga in school curriculum.

“We can’t decide what is to be taught. It’s for the government to do,” the bench said after it dismissed the Centre’s latest affidavit, which said the education policy did not make teaching yoga mandatory in schools.

The Apex court told the petitioner that it was not within its domain to design a school syllabus. The government had to do this with the advice of experts.

Despite the petitioner arguing that there have been notifications issued by the Central government, the court declined to pass any judicial order.

Seth and co-petitioner, Padma awardee G L Tandon, wanted the court to ask the Centre to develop curriculum, courses and textbooks for study of yoga comprising ‘pranayama’ (science of breathing) and also ‘asans’ (science of body postures). In terms of the RTE and National Curriculum Framework, 2005, they said, all students from classes 1 to 8 should be made to practise yoga. They moved SC after the Delhi High Court did not accept their prayers.

They said all Central and state government-run and funded schools must include yoga as a subject in school education.

The apex court had on November 29 last year asked the Centre to treat the petition as a representation and take a decision.

The plea had said, “State has an obligation to provide health facilities to all the citizens, especially to children and adolescents. In a welfare state, it is obligation of the State to ensure the creation and sustenance of conditions congenial to good health.”

It had said that right to health cannot be secured without providing ‘yoga and health education’ to all children or framing a ‘national yoga policy’ to promote and propagate it.

(With inputs from agencies)