Recently, Karnataka High Cort put a stay on the order of the Karnataka government to ban online classes. A division bench of the court passed the interim order which was passed by the coordinate bench on July 8, 2020. As per the order, the court has put a stay on the order of the Karnataka government to put a ban for conducting online classes of students from LKG to class 10.
The bench disposed of petitions that had challenged the Karnataka government’s order in 2021. Further, the bench observed that considering the changed circumstance, this, that is online classes have all become academic. On June 15, 2021, Karnatka government had missed an order where it was instructed that no school should impart online education until its expert committee submitted recommendations on online classes.
Eventually, on June 27, 2020, Karnatka government did permit online classes for limited hours for students from Lower KG to Fifth standard. While giving the judgment, Justice Hanchate Sanjeevkumar and BV Nagarathna observed that the interim direction ought to be in force until the state government makes any decision on the opening of schools or conducting online classes.
The court also mentioned that the Karnataka government is at liberty to the way online classes will be conducted or when to re-open its schools by taking into consideration the present COVID-19 scenario and seeking expert opinion in the matter. In its earlier order dated July 2021, the court had mentioned that given the scenario due to COVID-19, there is no other way to impart education but online classes or online tutions.
Karnataka High Court also added that there is no rational basis to pass an order which bans online classes for students. One of the reasons the government decided to go with banning online classes was to not deprive any student of education due to the digital divide. The government had added that the ban was temporary until it came up with options that would not prevent any child from having access to education.