A Public Interest Litigation, PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court, demanding uniform education system for all students in India. Its demands having common syllabus and curriculum for all the children aged between 6-14 years. Under the bench headed by justice D Y Chandrachud, Supreme Court on Friday refuse to entertain the petition for merging the ICSE and CBSC Board to one.
Opinion not the Bench:
In the hearing via video-link, the bench told the petitioner that the issue of merger of education boards cannot be decided by courts. As this is a “matter of policy” and the judiciary could not “command” the government.
The bench which also comprised Justices Indu Malhotra and K M Joseph remarked “The Writ Petition raises issues of policy. We are affirmatively of the view that it is not within the domain of this court under Article 32 of the Constitution to direct the constitution of a National Education Council or National Education Commission.”
Adding to it, the bench stated that “These are matters which fall within the domain of experts. Similarly, the relief which has been of introducing a ‘standard textbook with a chapter on the Constitution’ is a matter of policy. School syllabus contain subjects bearing on knowledge of rights, duties and governance under the Constitution.”
The bench also did not allow the prayer of Upadhyay that the apex court of India registry should send his plea as representation to the authorities for action.
The order stated- “We decline to allow the office of this court to be used for directing that the suggestions which have been made by the petitioner be considered by the authorities. This is nothing but an effort to confer legitimacy on the petitioner’s attempt to enter into an area of educational policy.”
The PIL for uniform education system was filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay to sought for directions for establishing “One-nation-one-board”. This is to be made by merging the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education Board and the Central Board of Secondary Education. Advocate Upadhyay filed the petition stating that the Centre and states have not taken the steps required for the same. The plea alleged that appropriate steps to introduce uniform education system having common syllabus and common curriculum were not taken by the Government.
The proposed universal education system lies under the spirit of Article 21 A of the Constitution of India which refers to free and compulsory education. The plea contended that last 10 years’ data makes it clear that even though children are pursuing free and compulsory education, they don’t perform well compared to CBSE affiliated convent and private schoolls.Plea stated that children may not be able to exercise their fundamental right under Article 21 A, unless the Centre and states provide value-based uniform education.
The plea stated-
“To achieve substantive socio – economic equality & justice, it is necessary that syllabus and curriculum in all primary schools are similar whether it is run by management, local body, Union or State Government”. Also under the present scenario, each education board has its own syllabus and curriculum and entrance examinations are based on CBSE. Thus, the present system does not provide equal opportunity to all students.
The plea sought directions to ascertain the feasibility of constituting a National Education Council or National Education Commission to implement the system. It stated that the medium of instructions may differ according to the official language of the concerned state, the syllabus and curriculum must be common.
It also seeks for introducing a standard textbook having chapters on fundamental rights, duties, directive principles and the golden goals set out in the Preamble. This study is to be made compulsory for all the children aged 6-14 years throughout the country.
To which the bench responded -“Our students are already burdened with heavy school bags on their shoulders. Why do you want to add to their burden by adding more books.”