A division bench of the Karnataka High Court confirmed an interim order issued by a coordinate bench of the Court on July 8, 2020, which stayed the Government orders issued on June 15 and June 27, 2020, to the extent that they put an embargo on conducting online classes for students from LKG to Class X.
Justices BV Nagarathna and Hanchate Sanjeevkumar said, “We find that interim direction ought to be in force until the State Government decides to make a decision with regards to reopening of schools physically or take a policy decision in regards to conducting of online classes.”
The bench while disposing of a batch of petitions which had challenged the Government orders issued last year said, “Now with the change in circumstances all this has become academic.”
According to a Government directive issued on June 15, 2020, no institutions should offer online education until the Government’s expert committee on the sustainability of online classes submits its recommendations.
Following the authorities’ directions, the Government modified the decision on June 27, 2020, enabling students from lower KG to Standard V to take online classes for a short time.
In its order, the division bench said, “Since the counsels appearing for the petitioners and the additional government advocate submitted that the interim directions issued by order dated July 8, 2020 are in operation and bearing in mind the fact that covid-19 cases presently have reduced and State is on the verge of taking a positive decision with regards to reopening of the schools and online education being imparted to children, vis-a-vis, the changing circumstance, we find that interim direction ought to be in force until State decides to make decision with regards to reopening of schools physically or take a policy decision to online classes.”
The Court also said, “There cannot be any dispute that academic term for this year has already commenced. Only way of providing education was by providing facilities of online coaching/online training. There was no “rational basis” for passing orders banning online education.”
The State had stated that the restriction was simply a temporary measure until the Government looked into ways to ensure that no student was denied an education due to a lack of internet connectivity.