Gujarat HC issues notice to government, seeks response on teaching of Bhagavad Gita in schools

The Gujarat High Court on Monday issued notice to the state government on a plea challenging a proposal to offer the Bhagavad Gita in the form of prayer programs and verse recitations among other activities in schools. The High Court, however, refused to stay the proposal and sought a response from the state government by August 18.

A division bench of Chief Justice Arvind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh Shastri issued notice on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind (JUEH) seeking to offer the Bhagavad Gita in the form of prayer and through The proposal of the Department of Education was challenged. Activities like recitation of shlokas etc from this academic year.

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JUEH challenged the resolution on grounds of constitutional validity, claiming it was in violation of the national education Policy (NEP). The bench also directed the counsel for the petitioner to supply a copy of the PIL on the Assistant Solicitor General as the Central Government has also been made a respondent.

The state education minister announced the move Introduce Gita to Gujarat Schools In March this year. Advocate Mihir Joshi, appearing for JUEH, submitted that the values ​​and principles of Indian culture and system of knowledge can certainly be laid down in the school curriculum, but the question is whether it should take precedence over the values ​​and principles of the holy book. should be given. of only one religion. ,

The issue is whether a sacred scripture can be determined in this way, he argued. “Indian culture encompasses a wide range of what has been presented. There is no question of giving primacy to a religious book of a religion that has been presented before the court that only the values ​​and principles laid down in that book will be taught.” ,” said Mr Joshi.

He argued that the underlying principles of the NEP to guide the educational system both in large and individual institutions are “ethics, humanitarian and constitutional values ​​and pluralism, respect for diversity, India’s rich and diverse ancient and modern culture and knowledge systems and traditions”. I am proud”. ,

Joshi further said that Articles 25 and 28 of the Constitution provided for freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion, and directed that no religious instruction shall be provided in a state-run educational institution .

“The resolution of the State Education Department issued a directive to the Indian Culture and Indian Knowledge System to incorporate the values ​​and principles of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita in classes 6-12 by 2022-23, so that children understand and take interest.” Joshi said.

For classes 6-8, Gita will be introduced in academic subject textbooks in the form of stories, reading material etc. In classes 9-12, Gita will be introduced in the form of stories, reading material in first language textbooks. e.t.c. It has to be offered in prayers. Referring to the resolution, he said that various activities like Gita based shloka recitation, debate, speech, drama, pictures etc. will be organized.

“As far as the syllabus is concerned, the Right to Education (RTE) states that there is a statutory organization which will prepare it and recommend it to the state government,” he said.

Seeking a stay on the implementation of the resolution, Joshi argued that the direction given to the Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT) to prepare a curriculum for the purpose was without jurisdiction and contrary to the statutory provisions. The High Court, however, refused to stay, saying it would not consider the prayer without an affidavit.

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