Kerala HC directs State to formulate guidelines in tune with Kerala Education Rules about the importance of playground in schools

“A playground in a school is a part and parcel of the school. Without a playground, there cannot be a school. The education of the children is not in the classroom alone; it should spread to the playground as well. Playgrounds are the ultimate classroom where children learn through play. The playground is where the children can themselves shine mentally and physically”

Kerala High Court

Kerala High Court: In a writ petition filed by the President of the Parent Teachers Association and the Managing Committee Member of the Government Welfare Lower Primary School(‘Petitioners’) against Government Welfare Lower Primary School, (‘Respondents’), P. V. Kunhikrishnan, J., said that right to education is a fundamental right of the children and that includes play and other extracurricular activities. The Court further issued directions to the State to formulate guidelines in tune with Chapter IV Rule 3(2) of Kerala Education Rules (‘KER’) about the extent of playground necessary in each category of schools mentioned in Chapter IV Rule 1 and also the facilities required in school playground.


The petitioner filed the present writ petition when there was an attempt from the District Panchayat and Gram Panchayat to construct a water tank in the school ground without obtaining permission from the school authorities or higher authorities However, by the time the case reached the court, the construction proposal was abandoned, rendering the prayers of the petitioner, infructuous. Nonetheless, the Court seized the opportunity to address the broader issue of the importance of playgrounds in schools.


The Court deliberated on the significance of playgrounds in educational institutions, emphasising that they are integral to the learning process. The Court referred to Chapter IV Rule 3(2) of the KER, which mandates that every school should have suitable playgrounds for games and sports with sufficient clear space. The Court said “A playground in a school is a part and parcel of the school. Without a playground, there cannot be a school.”

The Court noted that there existed a deficiency in the existing regulations as they fail to specify the extent of playground required for different categories of schools. The Court remarked that while CBSE and CISCE affiliation norms provided clear guidelines regarding playground facilities, the KER lacks such specificity.

The Court said that the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (‘Right to Education Act’) also does not specify the area needed for playground. It further noted that Serial No.2 of Schedule to the Right to Education Act, expressly states about specification of building required for establishing a school. There also, the area needed for a playground is not specifically mentioned. It only mentions that there should be a playground for the school.

The Court highlighted the multifaceted benefits of school playgrounds, including physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of children. The Court further stressed that education should extend beyond classrooms to encompass extracurricular activities like sports and games.

Recognizing the right to education as a fundamental right, the Court emphasised the need for stringent regulations to ensure the availability of suitable playgrounds in all schools. The Court suggested strict enforcement of these norms, including the possibility of closure for schools failing to comply.

The Court while disposing of the writ petition, issued directions to the State Government to formulate norms within four months, in line with Chapter IV Rule 3(2) of KER, specifying the extent of playgrounds required for different types of schools and the necessary facilities.

The Court also directed the educational authorities to see that all the schools in the State are following the norms, once issued. Further, it directed that if any of the schools is not following the norms, then after giving them sufficient opportunity and time, stringent action including closure of the school should be ordered.

A copy of the judgment was also forwarded to the Secretary, General Education Department, State of Kerala, for necessary action.

[Prakash N. v. G.W.L.P., 2024 SCC OnLine Ker 1806, Order dated 11-04-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Advocate for Petitioners: Shiju Vargheese, A.C.Eapen.

Advocates for Respondent: Anoop v. Nair, M.R. Jayaprasad, P. Mohandas Ernakulam, K.P.Satheesan Sr., Siddharth Krishnan, Joseph John, S.Vibheeshanan.

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