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SC issues notice to Centre over school prayer in KVs

Legal News, Nation, (New Delhi), January 10:-The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Central Government after hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) which alleged that school prayers in Kendriya Vidyalayas propagated Hinduism and they should not be allowed as they are run by the Centre.

While observing that the issue is important, a bench of Justices R F Nariman and Navin Sinha issued notices to Centre and the Kendriya Vidyalaya management seeking a response.

The apex court also demanded a response why the school prayer in Kendriya Vidyalayas should be allowed.

The PIL filed by Madhya Pradesh resident Veenayak Shah, claimed that at morning assembly students were asked to compulsorily recite a Hindu religion prayer irrespective of students faith and belief. The plea said adding that since the prayer is being enforced, the parents and children of the minority communities, atheists and others find the imposition constitutionally impermissible.

The petitioner also submitted that the common prayer is a “religious instruction” within the meaning of Article 28 of the Constitution and should therefore be prohibited. Article 28(1) of the Constitution says that no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of state funds. “A perusal of the prayer shows that it is 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. The issue that arises therefore is whether the state may impose the above mentioned “common prayer” on students and teachers throughout the country,” the plea said. Shah pleaded to apex court to direct the Kendriya Vidyalaya schools to discontinue the morning prayer.

According to a 2015 report, there are 1,125 Kendriya Vidyalayas in India and three abroad. Also, there are approximately 11 lakh students enrolled in these schools.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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