BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay has recently moved a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking directions from the Centre and the Delhi government to make “Health and Yoga Science” a mandatory part of the curriculum up to class 8 for the overall development of children. The petitioner submitted that the Right to Health (Article 21) and Right to Education (Article 21A) are complementary and supplementary to each other. Therefore, it is the duty of the state to make “Health and Yoga Science” mandatory part of the curriculum up to class 8 in the spirit of S.29 of the RTE Act 2009.
In their petition, they claimed that the right to health guaranteed under Article 21 includes prevention, protection & improvement of health and is a minimum requirement to enable children to live with dignity. So, the state has not only a constitutional obligation to provide “Health and Yoga Education” to children but also to ensure the creation and sustaining of conditions congenial to good health, Upadhyay said in the PIL.
The petition further said that it is necessary to state that a three-judges bench of Appellate Court of California has held that yoga is a secular activity and Apex Court has also expressed similar view in three cases. “Hence it is duty of the State to provide standard textbooks of Health & Yoga Science for students of Class 1-8 in spirit of the Articles 21, 21A, 39, 47,” it added.
The petitioner argued that dese there being RTE Act, the study of Health & Yoga Science has become a right of 6-14 years children, and even after it enactment, it remains for name-sake on papers and is the most neglected subject.
Marks are not awarded for Health and Yoga Science in annual exam and even the teachers of Kendriya Vidyalaya and Navodaya Schools say that it is not a compulsory subject, he said. They also highlighted that NCERT has not yet published standard textbooks of `Health & Yoga Science` for students of Class 1-8.
Therefore, without a syllabus, standard textbooks, trained teachers and evaluation of marks, there has been a total failure in imparting health and yoga education in spirit of NCF 2005.
There is a total dichotomy between actual practice of yoga and the ideal, as propounded by the Prime Minister in his speech before the UN General Assembly, the PIL said.