Challenge to mandatory recital of morning prayers in Kendra Vidhyalaya: SC issues notice

Published on 11 Jan 2018 by Team

Image courtesy-Barandbench

Mandatory recitation of prayer curbs the growth of scientific temperament among students and young minds, contends a petition filed in the Supreme Court.

A Supreme Court bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and Navin Sinha has issued notice in a petition challenging the Revised Education Code of Kendra Vidyalaya Sangathan, more specifically Article 92 of the said Code.

Article 92 of the Code provides the conduct and procedure in which the morning assembly in the Kendra Vidhyalayas is to be carried out. The Code mandates the attendance of all students, teachers and the Principal in morning assemblies.

The petition filed by Advocate Veenayak Shah, contends that the said Code violates the fundamental rights of citizens, as it mandates that everyone, regardless of his/her religious beliefs, participate in the prayer. The same is, therefore, constitutionally impermissible.

The petitioner was represented through Advocates Pallavi Sharmaand Satyra Mitra.

The petition states:

“Article 92 requires the Teachers to guide and supervise the Prayer. In case a student does not stand with his palms folded and does not recite the prayer then the Teacher is expected to bring the student on the stage to correct them in Public.

Similarly, if the teacher does not enforce the folding of the palms and the saying of the prayer then the Principal is expected to reprimand the teacher. This is happening in schools throughout the country.”

The petition contends that the prayers are based on Hindu religion and constitutes a religious instruction as under Article 28 of the Constitution. The mandatory recital of such prayers is, therefore, in breach of Articles 28 and 19 of the Constitution.

The petition points out that the practice of recital of prayers is detrimental to developing a scientific temperament amongst students.

Students, as a result, learn to develop an inclination towards seeking Refuge from Almighty instead of developing a Practical Outcome towards the Obstacles and hurdles faced in everyday life and spirit of inquiry and reform seems to be lost somewhere.”

A response has been sought from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, under whose ambit the Kendriya Vidyalayas are instituted.


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