Supreme Court issues notice over prayer in federal schools

The prayer has been sung since 1964 in more than 1,100 Kendriya Vidyalayas across the country.

The prayer has been sung since 1964 in more than 1,100 Kendriya Vidyalayas across the country.

New Delhi: Whether a morning prayer at Kendriya Vidyalayas or central government-run schools across the country promotes the Hindu religion and defies constitutional principles will be examined by the Supreme Court, which today asked for the centre’s view.

“It is a serious constitutional issue,” the top court said, asking the centre and the Kendriya Vidyalayas to respond within two weeks to a petition that says the prayer is unconstitutional as it promotes a particular religion.

The prayer in Hindi has featured in the morning assembly in more than 1,100 Kendriya Vidyalayas across the country since 1964. It ends with a Sanskrit shloka.

Lawyer Veenayak Shah, the petitioner, argues that the prayer is in violation of the constitution and “impedes nurturing of reasoning and scientific temper among impressionable young minds”.

“The prayer is in Hindi and Sanskrit. Students of other religions have to compulsorily attend the assembly and recite it,” said Mr Shah, whose children also studied in a Kendriya Vidyalaya, reported NDTV.

Urging the court to put a stop to any kind of prayer at these schools, Mr Shah said that “there is no scientific reason to call this prayer beneficial, so it should be scrapped.”

The prayer is “constitutionally impermissible”, says his petition, adding that institutions funded by the state cannot propagate any religion.

Compulsory shlokas and prayers, the petition says, are contrary to the Articles in the constitution that state that “no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution maintained out of state funds” and “all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression.”

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6 thoughts on “Supreme Court issues notice over prayer in federal schools

  1. It seems like a big slap on the RSS agenda to have Bagavat Gita reading-Yoga training and Hindu prayers in the Government operated schools nationwide, and the next step to impose that on the minority religious operated schools too.

    BJP ruler’s chess game with their hidden agenda to impose Hinduism as the trade mark and birthright of the RSS rulers will be turning as the biggest whirlwind upon the religious rulers of India. Wait and watch!

  2. The school run by any Govt. should be secular No compulsion towards identity of any sect. Forcing to adapt any culture is violence to individuals consciousness. If run by any minority they can impose only to their community with option to follow or keep away from that act

    1. One Cabinet Minister of the BJP from Karnataka got the high fever to take off ” Secular ” from the Indian constitution with his totally forest cultured logic that none of the Individuals of any religion is putting the prefix ” secular “, then why a nation has to put ” secular” at the constitution of a democratic nation?

      The RSS rulers from day one of the administration was devising a plan to shut the mouths of the minorities and Dalits, the reaping time has started for all the devious strategies. The judicial system of India will be stretching the sword against them, like the rod of Moses towards the Red Sea.

  3. Nothing doing. Ganesh utsav and Deepali are celebrated in most govt. offices with all religious parapharneliaetc in office time. But Ramzan or Christmas is not celebrated. We honour secularism with such Exceptions. The courts may not be able to help unless the political parties practice secularism and follow the principle of ” seperation of State and religion”

  4. It is an acceptable argument to separate State and Religion, as well as to resist forceful imposition of a particular form of religion. However, this does not mean that children should not be taught to pray, or to be brought up in a spiritual ambience, even at school. In a multi-religious context of our country we need to find creative ways of avoiding a fundamentalist approach to religion, and at the same time, craft a programme that would provide our children to grow in a spiritual atmosphere, especially at school. Reason and reason alone cannot be the measuring yardstick for everything in life.

  5. Kudos to Adv Shah, who seems to be a Hindu himself…
    In Indian church there are many religious and priests advocates dedicated themselves to be the watchdogs of God’s commandments… And so called masters in education. How many Christian students should have lost Christian spirit praying this unconstitutional nonproductive items in their growing age… Shame to all the advocates in the name of church and CBCI not claiming its moral stand thyself for decades….

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