The Gujarat High Court, on Monday, 11 July, sought the Gujarat government's response to a plea challenging its resolution to include the Bhagavad Gita in school curriculums across the state.
However, the request by Jamiat Ulama-E-Hind's, which is the petitioner in the case, to put a stay on this was not entertained by the bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh J Shastri, LiveLaw reported.
The Gujarat Government on 17 March, had announced that the 700-verse Hindu holy scripture Bhagavad Gita would be a part of the syllabus in all schools of the state for classes 6-12 from the academic year 2022-23.
The decision, the government said, was in line with the new National Education Policy (NEP) introduced by the Union government.
What Does the Petition Say?
The Jamiat Ulama-E-Hind has contended that the inclusion of the Gita in the curriculum violates Article 28 of the Constitution and is 'anti-secular.'
It said that the decision was equivalent to giving religious instruction in school and purported the Gita to be representative of Indian values and ideals.
Although the government's announcement said that it was part of the National Education Policy, Senior Advocate Mihir Joshi argued on behalf of the petitioner that no religious book was within its ambit.
'People of All Faiths Accept the Gita': Gujarat Education Minister
Gujarat Education Minister Jitu Vaghani, during a discussion on allocations of budget for the department of education, had made the announcement in the legislative Assembly.
“We have decided to introduce the Bhagavad Gita in the school curriculum for Classes 6 to 12. For students of Classes 6 to 8, the scripture will be introduced in the textbook of ‘Sarvangi Shikshan’ (holistic education). From Classes 9 to 12, it will be introduced in the form of storytelling in the textbook of the first language,” he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Vaghani, speaking to reporters, said that people from every faith have accepted moral values and principles that are outlined in the Gita.
The schools will organise activities that are based on the ancient scripture like prayers, shloka recitation, drama, comprehension, painting, quiz, and elocution competitions, he added, news agency ANI reported.
"Recitation of Bhagavad Gita should be included in the prayer program. Various competitions and creative activities like Shlokgan, Shlokpurti, Vaktrutva, Nibandh, Natya, Chitra, Quiz etc based on Bhagavad Gita should be organized in schools," he said.
Study material or the main literature in the form of printed material and audio-video CDs will be provided to the schools by the government, he further said.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI, and LiveLaw.)