The Supreme Court today dismissed a plea seeking yoga as a compulsory subject for students of classes 1 to 8 across the country. The Bench headed by Justice MB Lokur said it had no authority "to say what has to be taught in schools."
"It is none of our business. How can we direct that," the Bench asked.
As enthusiastic as the Modi government is about yoga, it has admitted to the apex court that it is not, and cannot be an enforceable fundamental right under the Right To Education (RTE) Act, reported Times Of India.
In 2011, advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and Delhi BJP spokesperson JC Seth had petitioned the Supreme Court to make yoga a compulsory subject in schools under the 2009 RTE Act and the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) after the plea was rejected by Delhi High Court.
The SC had asked the Centre to respond with their opinion, but when no answer was forthcoming after six years, in April, the SC asked additional solicitor general Maninder Singh to look into the matter.
According to a report in The Hindu, in November 2016, the SC had asked the Centre to treat the petition as a representation and take a decision.
The Human Resource Development Ministry recently filed an affidavit informing the SC that the RTE Act did not specifically mention a yoga curriculum and so it could not be considered an enforceable fundamental right of students. However, it did point out that yoga was an intrinsic part of the curriculum of the 'Health and Physical Education', a compulsory subject for students from Class 1 to 10. The affidavit also assured that yoga had not been "neglected in school education".
The Centre also said that most schools fell under the jurisdiction of states and union territories and so it was upto them to ensure that NCF provisions were implemented in all schools.
Despite the response, the government's pro-yoga stance was unmissable in its statement.
"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, reported TOI.