Supreme Court refuses to entertain PIL for Uniform Education System across India

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The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a PIL seeking to explore feasibility of establishing ‘One Nation One Board’ by merging ICSE and CBSE to ensure uniform education to all children aged between 6-14 years, saying such “policy issues” do not fall under its “domain”.

A headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud, in a hearing via video-link, told PIL petitioner and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay that the issue of merger of education boards cannot be decided by courts.

“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.

“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. The school syllabus contains subjects bearing on the knowledge of rights, duties and governance under the Constitution,” 

said the bench which also comprised Justices Indu Malhotra and K M Joseph.

“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,” the bench asked during the hearing.

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The bench also did not allow the prayer of Upadhyay that the apex court registry should send his plea as representation to the authorities for action.

“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 order said.

The PIL had sought directions to look into the feasibility of establishing ‘One Nation One Education Board’ by merging the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education Board and the Central Board of Secondary Education.

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It had said the Centre and states have not taken appropriate steps to introduce a uniform education system having common syllabus and common curriculum in spirit of Article 21A (free and compulsory education).

Children may not be able to exercise their fundamental right under Article 21A unless the Centre and the states provide value based uniform education, the plea had said.

“To achieve substantive socio-economic equality and 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,” it had said.

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The PIL said although the medium of instructions may differ according to the official language of the concerned state, the syllabus and curriculum must be common for all children aged 6-14 years.

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