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[Plea Against Religious Prayer in Kendriya Vidyalayas] SC: ‘Prayers Teaching Moral Values Not Confined to Religion’

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Supreme Court Law Insider

Sakina Tashrifwala

Published on: September 8, 2022 at 19:42 IST

The Supreme Court adjourned a plea filed by Senior Advocate Veenayak Shah attempting to seek direction from the appellants i.e., Union of India and Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathans to “discontinue any form of Prayer from the Morning Assembly or otherwise, in Kendraya Vidyalaya Sangathans and to promote Scientific Learning among students for a month”, for next month.

A writ petition filed by Veenayak Shah in 2017 was heard by a Bench of Justices Indira Banerjee, Surya Kant, and M. M. Sundresh.

Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioner, stated that the matter was of importance as the prayer being recited in the school was related to only one religion. He also highlighted that during an earlier hearing in 2019, Justice Nariman and Vineet cited the matter to a 3-Judge Bench.

They further observed that the writ petition was of major importance regarding the right implementation of Article 28(1) of the Constitution of India.

Justice Banerjee, postponed this matter due to work overload but also remarked that prayers are said to inculcate moral values.

An impleadment application filed by Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind was also allowed as it seeked to include the views of the minority community as well, especially the Muslim Community, in the matter as the matter included reciting prayers based primarily on Hinduism as the Revised Education Code specified.

This led to resentment against the said provision.

Advocate Satya Mitra also stated that the students should be exposed to scientific learning instead of religious learning as this leads to a lot of obstacles in the students’ life.

They primarily base their Faith in God and Religion and is permanently instilled as a thought process. This led to Refuge from God every time rather than obtaining Practical Outcomes in life.

Minimal Promotion of Scientific Temperament leads to violation of Article 28(1) and Article 19 of the Constitution of India.

Article 92 of Chapter 10 of the Revised Education Code for the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathans which had outlined the morning assembly schedule and had prescribed a common prayer to be recited during the Morning Assembly.

Article 92 had further stated that all the students, irrespective of their faiths, will have to recite the prayer in a respective manner and they will be supervised by the teachers.