[dropcap]A[/dropcap] two-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Rohinton F Nariman and Justice Vineet Saran has today, January 28, 2019, referred to the larger bench a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by one Veenayak Shah alleging that school prayers in Kendriya Vidyalayas propagate Hinduism. Now the PIL will be placed before the CJI Ranjan Gogoi on the administrative side to place it before a bench of appropriate strength.
According to the petitioner, the Sanskrit prayers including shlokas like ‘asto ma sadgamaya’ and other prayers promote particular religious beliefs which any educational institution funded by state cannot do so. Petitioner has also stated that such a religious instructions create a “lot of obstacles in developing a scientific temperament among the students”.
The prayers are based on Hindu religion and it is very different both in substance and form from the prayers of the other religious/ non-religious orientations mentioned above, hence, can the state impose the above mentioned “common prayer” on students and teachers throughout the country, says petitioner.
Petitioner has prayed that a direction be issued to forthwith discontinue any form of Prayer from the Morning Assembly or otherwise in Kendriya Vidhalaya Sangathans and to promote scientific learning among the students instead.
Last year in January, the Supreme Court had issued notice on the PIL. In the meantime, an impleadment application on behalf of Jamial Ulama-i-Hind has also been filed in this matter.