Gujarat HC issues notice to state govt. on introducing Bhagavad Gita in schools
| Education Jagat - 22 Jul 2022

The Gujarat High Court issued a notice to the state government on a petition challenging a resolution introducing the Bhagavad Gita in schools as a prayer program and verse recitation among other activities. The high court, however, declined to stay the resolution and sought the state government’s reply by August 18.
 A division bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh Shastri issued the notice on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Jamiat Ulama-E-Hind (JUEH) challenging the education department’s resolution on introducing the Bhagavad Gita in schools as prayers and through activities like recitation of shlokas etc from this educational year.
 The JUEH challenged the resolution on the grounds of Constitutional validity and claimed it was in contravention of the National Education Policy (NEP). The bench also directed the petitioner’s counsel to serve a copy of the PIL on the Assistant Solicitor General as the Central government has also been made a respondent.
 The Gujarat education minister announced the move to introduce the Gita in schools in Gujarat in March this year. Appearing for JUEH, lawyer Mihir Joshi said values and principles of Indian culture and the system of knowledge can certainly be prescribed in the school curriculum, but “the question is whether it should be done by giving primacy to the values and principles of the holy book of only one religion.”
 The issue is whether one holy book can be prescribed in this manner, he argued. “Indian culture comprises a vast array of what it comprises. The submission before the court is that there is no question of giving primacy to the religious book of one religion for stating that the values and principles as prescribed in that book alone shall be taught,” Mr. Joshi said.
 He argued that the principles underlying the NEP to guide both the educational system at large and individual institutions are “ethics, human and constitutional values, and pluralism, respect for diversity, pride in India’s rich and diverse ancient and modern culture and knowledge systems and traditions”.
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