Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and KM Joseph, JJ has refused to entertain a public interest litigation seeking directions for uniform education with a common syllabus and curriculum for all children aged between 6-14 years across the country. The Court was hearing the PIL filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.
Suggesting to opt “one nation one education board”, the petition had also sought directions from the court to merge the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Petitioner argued that the reliefs which have been claimed are founded on the provisions of Article 21A of the Constitution and on the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009.
“the present educational system does not provide equal opportunity to students of all strata of society.”
The Court was, however, of the opinion 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.”
Asking the petitioner to approach the Government with his prayer, the Court said,
“The petition lays no foundation or justiciable basis for the Court to issue directions of this nature. … This is nothing but an effort to confer legitimacy on the petitioner’s attempt to enter into an area of educational policy.”
The ICSE and the CBSE are national-level boards of education in the country for schools.
[Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 580 , order dated 17.07.2020]