Asia & Australia

August 11, 2017

Centre says Yoga education is not a Fundamental Right

Yoga education

Yoga education cannot be an enforceable fundamental right under the law governing children's right to free and compulsory education, according to Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite him leading the celebrations on International Yoga Day.

In 2011, Petitioner-advocate J C Seth persuaded the SC to seek response from the Centre on making yoga a compulsory subject in schools citing Section 7(6) and 8(g) and (h) of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, and the National Curriculum Framework (NCF).

The issue has been pending in the SC for six years, awaiting the Centre's response despite the SC’s request to additional solicitor general Maninder Singh to look into the matter. An appeal rejecting the plea for introduction of yoga as part of the syllabi and holding of compulsory yoga classes for all school students was made by Seth in the SC.

In its recent affidavit, the human resource development ministry informed the SC, "RTE Act does not specifically mention about the curriculum of yoga. As such, it cannot be concluded that yoga education has become an enforceable fundamental right. Yoga is an integral part of the curriculum of 'Health and Physical Education', which is a compulsory subject for Classes 1 to 10. To that extent, yoga has not been neglected in school education."

"Implementation of various subject areas, including yoga, depends upon states and UTs concerned," an official said. "NCF 2005 provides that yoga may be introduced from the primary level onwards in informal ways, but formal introduction of yoga exercises should begin only from Class 6 onwards," it said.

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