PIL for making Yoga compulsory

After considerable hearing the PIL for making Yoga compulsory for students of Class I-VIII and for framing a National Yoga Policy, Hon’ble Chief Justice of India posted the matter for further hearing on 29.11.2016 with another petition [SLP(C) 3987 of 2011] pending before Justice Lokur.

PRAYER

For the reasons stated above, it is the most respectfully prayed that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to:

a) issue a writ, order or direction including writ in the nature of mandamus or such other writ, order or direction as may be necessary; directing the Ministry of HRD, NCERT, NCTE and CBSE to provide standard textbooks of ‘Yoga and Health Education’ for students of Class I-VIII in spirit of the Article 21A read with Article 14, 15 and 21;

b) issue a writ, order or direction including writ in the nature of mandamus or such other writ, order or direction as may be necessary; directing the Ministry of AYUS and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to frame a ‘National Yoga Policy’ to promote and propagate the Yoga in spirit of the Article 21 read with the Article 39(e), 39(f) and 47;

c) issue a writ, order or direction including writ in the nature of mandamus or such other writ, order or direction as may be necessary; directing the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to declare ‘First Sunday’ of every month as ‘Health Day’ on the lines of ‘Polio Day’ to make the people aware about health-hazards and health-hygiene;

d) issue such other writ, order or direction as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit to secure the ‘Right to Health’ and ‘Right to Education’ and allow cost to petitioner.

GROUNDS

That petitioner begs to file the present writ petition inter-alia on the following grounds.

A. BECAUSE ‘Right to Health’ is integral part of Right to Life under the Article 21. It includes protection, prevention and cure of the health and is a minimum requirement to enable a person to live with human dignity. State has a 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 sustaining of conditions congenial to good health. Article 21 read with Article 39(e), 39(f) and 47, casts the duty on the State to take appropriate steps to improve health of the citizens and provide necessary information instruction and training in this regard. Every branch of the Executive has the constitutional obligation to extend his services with due expertise for protecting the life. This Hon’ble Court has reiterated that in an organized society, right to live as a human being is not insured by meeting only the animal needs of man but it is secured only when he is assured of all facilities to develop himself and is free from restrictions, which inhibit the growth. All human beings are designed to achieve this object. Right to Health cannot be secured without providing “Yoga and Health Education” to all the Children and without framing a “National Yoga Policy” to promote and propagate the Yoga.

B. BECAUSE for strengthening, social fabric of democracy through provision of equal opportunity to all has been accepted since inception of our republic. Article 21A, was inserted to provide free and compulsory education to children aged 6-14 years as a fundamental right and the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 was enacted. Statement of objects of the Act says that every child has to be provided fulltime elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school that satisfies certain norms and standard. The legislation is anchored in the belief that the values of equality, social justice and democracy and creation of a just and humane society can be achieved only through provision of inclusive elementary education to all. Provision of free-compulsory education of satisfactory quality to disadvantaged and weaker section children is, therefore, not merely the responsibility of schools run/supported by the appropriate governments, but also of schools, which are not dependent on government funds. Section 7(6) of the Act says that Central government shall (a) develop a framework of national curriculum with the help of academic authority specified under Section 29  (b) develop and enforce standards for training of teachers (c) provide technical support and resources to State governments for promoting innovations, researches, planning and capacity building.

C. BECAUSE Union Government vide its notification dated 31.05.2010 had notified that National Curriculum Framework 2005 shall be the national curriculum under Section 7(6) of the Right of Children to Free & Compulsory Education Act 2009. NCF 2005 specifically says that yoga is core and compulsory subject of the elementary education thus it needs to be given equal status with other subjects. There are about 20 crores children, throughout the country,  studying in primary and junior classes at the cost of public exchequer. Yoga should be taught to them as a compulsory subject as per National Curriculum Framework 2005, notified under Section 7(6) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009. Petitioner filed this petition for proper implementation of ‘Yoga and Health Education’ at primary and junior level with the object to make our children healthy through Pranayams and Asanas. It is necessary to state that NCERT develops syllabi of all the subjects for primary and junior classes so it should develop standard textbooks of “Yoga and Health Education” for students of Class I-VIII. It is necessary to state that Three Judges Bench of Appellate Court of California (USA) has held that yoga is a secular. This Hon’ble Court has also expressed similar view in three cases hence it is bounden duty of the Executive to frame a ‘National Yoga Policy’ in spirit of the Article 21.

D. BECAUSE ‘Yoga and Health Education’ has become the fundamental right of 6-14 years children after enactment of the RTE Act. However, it is remained named-sake on papers and is the most neglected subject. Marks are not awarded for Yoga in annual exam and even the teachers of Kendriya Vidyalaya and Navoday Schools say that yoga is not a compulsory subject. It is very surprising that NCERT has not yet published standard textbooks of ‘Yoga and Health Education’ for students of Class I-VIII. It is necessary to state that without syllabus, without standard textbooks, without teachers and without evaluation of marks, there has been total failure in imparting the yoga education in spirit of NCF 2005. It is not out of context to state the total dichotomy between actual practice of yoga education and the ideal of yoga, as propounded by Hon’ble Prime Minister, in his speech before United Nations General Assembly on 27.09.2014 as thus: “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise, but, to discover the sense of oneness with self, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”

E. BECAUSE Yoga is a scientific and universal method, a tradition and culture of self-discipline, self-realization and self-revelation. It is not a ritualistic procedure or a sectarian bunch of knowledge; rather a medical science and a life science. Besides being an excellent medical system, Yoga is a life style for an integrated development of life. It is an excellent and powerful means of self-control. Yoga is an emotional and practical process for diverting the flow of our thought arising in our mind in any state towards a positive direction and an excellent method of developing life skills. In every person, there are, on one hand, limitless divine qualities and potential of becoming a superman, a great scientist, a philosopher, a thinker, a manager or an efficient administrator; while on other hand, there are impure and cruel thoughts, which can make him an extremely ruthless beast, a devil, a criminal or a terrorist. Through Yoga, we can realize a fully developed personality, by developing own creative faculties, emotions, thoughts and capabilities. Yoga is well-tried and tested method of centuries to transform the feelings of indolence, despondency, lack of confidence, insensitivity and self-deprecation, which are deeply rooted in the mind, into self-control, self-conscientiousness, self- confidence, self-discipline, self-esteem, self-respect, self-restraint and selflessness.

F. BECAUSE right to education under the Article 21A has to be read in conformity with Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution. There must be no discrimination in quality of education. The right of a child should not be restricted only to free and compulsory education, but should be extended to have value-based uniform education without any discrimination on the ground of a child’s social economic and cultural background thus a common syllabus and common curriculum is required. Value-based uniform education system would achieve the code of a common culture, removal of disparity and depletion of discriminatory values in human relations and it would enhance virtues and improve the quality of human life, elevate the thoughts, which advance the Constitutional philosophy of equal society. Children are not only the future citizens but also the future of the earth. Education connotes the whole course of scholastic instruction, which a person has received. It connotes the process of training and developing the knowledge, skill, mind and character of student by formal schooling. Value-based uniform education will help in diminishing opportunities to those who foment fanatic and fissiparous tendencies. The world shall be a better or worse place to live according to how we treat the children today thus it is duty of the State to provide Yoga and Health Education to all the children.

Ashwini Upadhyay

aku.aor@gmail.com

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