The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought the Delhi government, the CBSE and the NHRC's response on a petition challenging certain provisions of the Right to Education Act, 2009 for being "arbitrary, irrational, and violative" and seeking direction to the Centre to implement common syllabus and curriculum for the students of Class 1 to 8 standard throughout the country.
The plea also challenged provisions under the RTE Act which excludes madrasas, Vedic pathshalas and educational institutions imparting religious knowledge.
A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad issued notices to Delhi government, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the newly impleaded parties.
The high court had earlier allowed petitioner, lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay to implead the CBSE, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and the Delhi government as parties in plea.
During the hearing on Tuesday, the bench also issued notice to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, the NCERT, and the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations and asked the parties to file their replies.
The court listed the matter for hearing next on August 16.
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Upadhyay had earlier argued before the court that all competitive examinations be it engineering, law and the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) should have a common syllabus.
"But we have multiple syllabus at school level, how will it provide an equal opportunity for students? In Kendra Vidyalayas across the country, we have a common syllabus. Every developed country has a common syllabus in schools. It is unfortunate we are under pressure from the coaching mafia."
He had contended that as per the Articles of the Constitution, students do not get equal opportunities.
Upadhyay, in his plea, alleged that "education mafias are very powerful and have a very strong syndicate. They influence rules, regulations, policies and examinations. The bitter truth is that school mafias do not want one nation-one education board, coaching mafias do not want one nation-one syllabus, and book mafias do not want NCERT books in all schools. That is why the uniform education system up to the 12th standard has not been implemented yet."
"It is necessary to state that the purposive and harmonious construction of Articles 14, 15, 16, 21, 21A with Articles 38, 39, 46 confirms that education is a basic right of every child and the State cannot discriminate against this most important right. Right of a child should not be restricted only to free education, but must be extended to have equal quality education without discrimination on the ground of the child's social, economic and cultural background," the plea read.
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