Roy & Ors Vs. Union of India & Ors  Insc 386
(12 September 2002)
M.B. Shah Shah, J.
this public interest litigation filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of
India, it has been mainly contended that the National Curriculum Framework for
School Education (hereinafter referred to as the "NCFSE") published
by National Council of Educational Research and Training (hereinafter referred
to as "NCERT") is against the constitutional mandate, anti-secular,
and without consultation with Central Advisory Board of Education (hereinafter
referred to as "CABE") and, therefore, requires to be set aside.
Admittedly, CABE is in existence since 1935 and it is submitted that uptil now
before framing the new NCFSE, the CABE was always consulted.
time of hearing of this matter, it was contended by Mr. C.S. Vaidyanathan,
learned senior counsel for the petitioners that the issue involved is one of
grave constitutional importance affecting the future of children and in
substance contentions are as under :
respondents have not sought the approval of the Central Advisory Board of to
the National Curriculum Framework for School Education 2000 and without
obtaining the approval of the CABE, the NCFSE cannot be implemented.
NCFSE and the Syllabus framed thereunder are unconstitutional as the same are violative
of the rubric of secularism which is part of the basic structure of our
Constitution. The NCFSE and the Syllabus are also violative of the fundamental
right to education, fundamental right to development, fundamental right to
information (which have all been read into the right to life under Article 21)
and also Articles 27 and 28 of the Constitution of India.
with CABE We would first deal with the contention that non-consultation with
CABE before framing National Curriculum is unjustified and, therefore, it
cannot be implemented. It is submitted that the CABE is a pivotal and the
highest body in the matters pertaining to education and has always played an
important role in evolving any national document/policy pertaining to education
as it not only has the required expertise but also an effective mechanism for
to be stated that CABE is not constituted under any Act or the Rules, hence not
a statutory body. However, it is not disputed that the said body continuously
functioned since 1935 to 1994 and, therefore, for finding out the functions of
the CABE, we would refer to the Resolutions, which are produced on record,
constituting the CABE.
the Resolution dated 10th April, 1986 issued by the Ministry of Human Resource
Development (Department of Education), Government of India, the functions of
the CABE are as under :-
The Central Advisory Board of Education was last constituted in April 1982 and
its term expired in September, 1985. In view of the widespread demand
throughout the country recently voiced in the context of the formulation of New
Educational Policy for more effective role of the Central and State Governments
and between State Governments and local bodies and non- governmental agencies;
importance being given to human resource development; and the decision to
formulate the New Education Policy, it has been felt necessary to redefine the
functions of CABE.
revised functions of CABE would be:
review the progress of education from time to time;
appraise the extent and manner in which the education policy has been
implemented by the Central and State Governments, and other concerned agencies;
and to give appropriate advice in the matter;
advise regarding coordination between the Central and State Governments/UT
Administrations, State Governments, non- governmental agencies, for educational
development in accordance with the education policy; and (d) to advise, suo moto,
or on a reference made to it by the Central Government or any State Government
or by a Union Territory Administration on any educational question.
the discharge of these functions, the Board may
call for information and comments from any Government institution, any other organisation
or an individual;
committees or groups comprising members of CABE and/or others as may be
through Government or any other agency; studies, research or reports on any
specific issue requiring attention of the Board or its committees or
groups." The composition of the Board is also provided therein.
the aforesaid Resolution, CABE consists of in all 104 Members. Out of them, 64
members are ex-officio members; 32 are nominated by the Government and 8
members are elected by Parliament. The quorum provided for the meeting of the
Board is 2/3rd of the total membership of the Board. The Resolution also
requires that Board will meet at least once a year and there shall not be a gap
of more than two years between two consecutive meetings of the Board. The
tenure of office of members of the Board other than Ex-officio members was
three years effective from the date of notification. However, in the first sentence
of the Preamble, it is specifically noted that CABE was constituted in April
1982 and its term expired in September 1985.
on 19th October, 1990, on the same line, the Government
of India passed the Resolution reconstituting CABE, which inter alia reads
Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) is the highest advisory body to
advise the Central and State Governments in the field of Education. In the
past, important decisions have been taken on the advise of CABE and it has provided
a forum for arriving at a consensus on issues relating to educational and
cultural development. CABE has a particularly important role to play at the
present juncture in view of the decision of the Government to appoint a
Committee under the Chairpersonship of Acharya Ramamurti to review the National
Policy on Education 1986 and also in view of the significant socio-economic and
socio-cultural developments taking place in the country. It is a matter of
importance that the Central and State Governments and educationists and
teachers, should increase their interaction so that education becomes an
instrument for national reconstruction and social cohesion." The remaining
part, providing for functions and mode of its discharge, remains the same, as stated
in the earlier resolution.
the aforesaid two resolutions, which are produced on record, it is apparent
that the functions of the CABE are limited. It nowhere mandates that before
framing national curriculum framework for school education, the Government
shall consult the CABE and act as per its advice. However, it is contended that
since years before framing such national curriculum, the CABE is always
consulted and, therefore, non-consultation of the CABE by the Government or the
NCERT is against the established principle for oblique motive.
view, this submission cannot be accepted. Firstly, it is to be reiterated that
CABE is a non-statutory body constituted by the resolutions of the Government
of India from time to time. It is true that it is functioning since 1935.
However, it being constituted by exercise of the Executive function of the
Government, it cannot be held that as the CABE is not consulted, the policy
laid down by the NCERT is violative of any statutory provision or rules.
further submitted that the CABE is in existence today as is evidenced by the
fact that the Rajya Sabha website, in the list of bodies in which its nominees
are present, mentions the CABE even till date and the issue regarding approval
of the CABE has been raised by Members of Parliament and others in July, 2001,
i.e. prior to the finalisation of the NCFSE. Despite the same the Government
failed to reconstitute the body and it now cannot state that it has not
reconstituted the body as the present petition is sub-judice before this Court.
The Union of India having failed to comply with its duty to fill in the
vacancies cannot now be permitted to take advantage of its own wrong and be
heard to say that the approval of the CABE was not sought as it has not yet
been reconstituted. It is further submitted that the Programme of Action 1992
(POA) states that "CABE is the historic forum for forging a national
consensus on educational issues".
POA reviewed the National Policy on Education 1986 (NPE'86) and made certain
minor modifications therein. The said programme of action further states as
The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) has emerged as a very effective
instrument of meaningful partnership between the States and the Centre,
particularly at evolving a consensus on the major policy issues in the field of
human resource development. The CABE would be expected to play a meaningful and
important role in the implementation of the NPE.
The CABE would have to evolve appropriate mechanisms and processes to discharge
its tasks of overseeing and reviewing the implementation of the NPE. It may
have to devise appropriate structures within its system and also seek the
support of professional organizations and autonomous bodies in discharging its
role. The CABE may consider the modalities it would adopt for its role in
implementing the NPE/POA." It is also pointed out that the Report of the
Ministry of Human Resource Development of 1990-92 on the Development of
Education in India also notes the importance of the
CABE. The relevant extract is as follows:
Actions related to education at the national level including planning and
policy-making are guided and coordinated by the Central Advisory Board of
Education (CABE), the members of which include Ministers of Education of all
States and Union Territories and leading educationists of the country. A few national
level institutions specialising in particular aspects of education, assist and
advise the Central and State Governments in the formulation and implementation
of policies and programmes in their respective areas. Special mention may be
made in this regard, of organizations such as the National Institute of
Educational Planning and Administration, the National Council of Educational
Research and Training and the University Grants Commission." It is further
contended that due to the presence of education in the Concurrent List, the
issue relating to State-Centre coordination must not be lost sight of, in
evolving national consensus on any issue pertaining to education which requires
implementation in all the States. The NPE'86 also refers to the 42nd Amendment
to the Constitution whereby education was brought to the Concurrent List and
talks of a meaningful partnership between State and Centre in this regard.
CABE for one or other reason was not reconstituted since 1994 as the Government
has not nominated the members nor the Parliament has elected members as
required by 1990 resolution. As per the 1990 Resolution, the tenure of office
of the members of the Board other than ex-officio members was only for three
years. Thereafter, no further Resolution is passed reconstituting the CABE. It
is true that if we read the Resolution as it is, it may mean that for
ex-officio members tenure is not limited.
why it is not reconstituted by the Government since 1994 cannot be decided in
this petition. Respondent has brought on record one letter dated 12th February, 1997 written by Deputy Secretary,
Government of India, pertaining to reconstitution of CABE and nomination
thereto. The letter, inter-alia, states that the Prime Minister has felt that
the proposed Board is too unwieldy and he desired to know whether there could
be a compact Board and that the Department of Education was accordingly
requested to examine the proposal. Therefore, for one or other reason, it is
apparent that CABE was not reconstituted since 1994.
learned counsel for respondent also submitted that the discussions/workshops
were held at various levels before framing the National Curriculum Framework
(NCF). No doubt, this is disputed contention which is not required to be
as stated above the main function of the CABE as per the resolutions is to
review the progress of education from time to time and to appraise the extent
and manner in which the Education Policy has been implemented by the Central
and State Governments and other concerned agencies and to give appropriate
advice in the matter. It can also advise the Government regarding coordination between
the Central Government and the State Government for educational development in
accordance with the Education Policy.
also, it can advise on any educational question. Therefore, it cannot be said
that non-consultation of the CABE by the NCERT is against the established
principle for any oblique motive.
as per the relevant extract of the Report of the Ministry of Human Resource
Development of 1990-92 upon which reliance is placed by the learned counsel for
the petitioners, it is to be stated that in the said Report itself, it is noted
that there were few national level institutions specialising in particular
aspects of education, assist and advise the Central and State Governments in
the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes in their
special mention is made of organizations such as National Institute of
Educational Planning and Administration, the National Council of Educational
Research and Training and the University Grants Commission. From this report,
it is apparent that CABE is only an advisory body and there are other
institutions including the NCERT which also assist the Government in
formulation and implementation of policies and programmes.
there is nothing on record to establish that in past approval of the CABE was
sought before NCFSE was published or implemented. The preamble of 1990
resolution constituting CABE inter alia takes note of the fact that it is a
matter of importance that Central Government, State Governments, educationists
and teachers should increase their interaction so that education becomes an
instrument for national reconstruction and social cohesion. This would also
indicate that the main object of constituting CABE is to have interactions so
that imparting of education is helpful in national reconstruction and social
cohesion. Further, this preamble specifically states that to review the NPE'86,
the Committee was appointed under the Chairpersonship of Acharya Ramamurti.
Same is the position in the present case. The recommendations of S.B. Chavan
Committee constituted by Parliament are accepted.
it is submitted that the POA'92 which made some minor changes to the NPE'86 and
formulated a programme for implementation of the NPE'86 also talks of the
effective role played by the CABE. It is also submitted that the contention
that CABE is only for implementation of the NCFSE is belied by the fact that
the NCF of 1988 was approved by the CABE. In our view, once there are specific
Resolutions on record constituting CABE and providing its functions, it would
be unreasonable and unnecessary to consider that in past CABE was consulted
before framing of NCFSE. The functions as narrated in the Resolutions nowhere
further stated that the Union of India and the NCERT in their Counter
affidavits have only taken the plea that there is no legal requirement to
consult CABE and that in any event CABE has not been in existence after the
alleged expiry of its term in 1994.
they have controverted the fact that CABE in fact did approve the NCF 1988. In
the additional affidavit of NCERT which was produced on Ist August, 2002
minutes of the 38th CABE meeting in 1975 have been extracted. The relevant
portion extracted itself clearly shows CABE's vital role in Curriculum
National Curriculum for the 10 Year School prepared by the NCERT is recommended
to the State Governments." It is submitted that this extract of the said
minutes of the CABE makes it amply evident that the NCFSE has to be recommended
by the CABE prior to implementation. If there is no question of approval by the
CABE as alleged by the respondents, there would have been no requirement for
the CABE to have recommended the NCFSE to the States. Similarly, the relevant
extract relating to the NCF 1988 set out in the additional affidavit clearly
shows that the CABE has adopted the NCF 1988; while NCERT draws up the
Curriculum, CABE approves it prior to implementation. Further, the Notification
reconstituting CABE refers to the role played by CABE in reviewing progress of
education, implementation of the policy and co-ordination between Centre and
State. NCFSE is a mode of implementation of the NPE and consequently it is
definitely one of the functions of CABE to make sure that the NCFSE is in
accordance with the NPE'86. The NCFSE being a national document requiring
implementation throughout the country raises important Centre State issues and consequently CABE should be consulted as a co- ordinator
of Centre and State in such National issues with serious federal implications.
true that for coordination between the State and the Centre in implementing the
education policy, CABE had played an important role. But this would not mean
that before framing such policy by an independent body, namely, NCERT, CABE
ought to have been reconstituted and consulted.
behalf of respondent, it is also pointed out that NCERT is an autonomous body
established by the Union Government as a vehicle to promote inter alia the
uniformity of standards in education. The Memorandum of Association of NCERT,
states "the objects of the Council shall be to assist and advice the
Ministry of Education and Social Welfare in the implementation of its policies
and major programmes in the field of education particularly school
education." The programmes and activities which the Council may undertake
include inter alia the following
To develop and/or to disseminate improved educational techniques and practices
cooperate with, collaborate and assist the State education departments,
universities and other educational institutions for the furtherance of its
advise the State Governments and other educational organisations and
institutions on matters relating to school education;
undertake the preparation and/or the publication of such books, materials;
periodicals and other literature as may be necessary for the furtherance of its
rightly pointed out that it is clear from a reading of the Memorandum of
Association of NCERT that the preparation of a curriculum model, which could be
followed generally to improve educational techniques and practices, and which
could also form the basis of the preparation and/or publication of books and
other material, is one of roles specifically assigned to the NCERT. The
Constitution of the Council, under the Rules, shows that it is a high- powered
body. The Union Minister for Education (now the Minister for Human Resource
Development) is the ex-officio President, the Secretary of the Union Ministry
of Education (now HRD), the Chairman of the University Grants Commission, four
Vice- Chancellors, one from each region, and the Education Minister of each
State Government are on the Council. In addition to these, it also includes 6
nominees (of whom not less than four shall be school teachers). In other words,
the Council comprises a body which has the highest representatives from the
executive Government at the Union as well
as the States and other experts from the field of education. It is, therefore,
submitted that the authority of the NCERT to publish a national curriculum to
serve as a model for the States as well as to be a guide for publication of its
own books and literature cannot be seriously disputed. There is no statute nor
there is any limitation in the Rules or Regulations framed for the working of
NCERT, which would require it to seek the approval or concurrence of any other
authority before publishing the national curriculum.
is nothing in either the constitution of the NCERT or in any other Rule,
Regulation or Executive order to suggest that the NCERT is structurally
"subordinate" or inferior to any other body in the field.
CABE upon its reconstitution in 1990 (by the Government resolution dated 19th October 1990) is also chaired by the Union
Minister of Human Resource Development. It also comprises of Union Ministers
and Ministers of Education of the States, and other elected members including
some members of Parliament, ex-officio members (i.e. Chairman of University
Grants Commission and other similar functionaries) and other persons appointed
by the Government.
senior counsel Mr. Vaidyanathan further submitted that the claim of respondents
that NCERT General Council has approved the final document is false and
incorrect. Number of Ministers of Education of States walked out protesting
against the stand taken by NCERT in the NCERT General Council meeting. In our
view, in this petition under Article 32, it would be difficult to find out
whether the said submission is justified or not. However, it is to be stated
that in democracy, decisions which are taken by the majority are to prevail
unless they are contrary to any statutory provisions or rules or are arbitrary.
On behalf of the respondent- Union, it has been repeatedly pointed out that
NCERT also consists of experts in the field of education as well as ex-officio
members. If the constitution of NCERT and CABE is limited to its ex-officio
members more or less it would consist of same members. In any case, it is
difficult to accept the contention raised by the learned senior counsel Mr. Vaidyanathan
that NCERT General Council has not given its approval to NCFSE.
depends upon view of the majority.
the contention of the learned senior counsel for the petitioners that as CABE
is not consulted or its approval is not sought by the Government before framing
the NCFSE-2000 the said policy requires to be set aside, cannot be accepted.
of Article 28 Learned counsel for the petitioners vehemently objected and
pointed out that NCFSE pertaining to education for value development is violative
of Article 28 of the Constitution. Before referring to the contention raised by
the learned counsel for the parties, we would refer to the relevant part of NCFSE
which reads thus:
Education for Value Development.
past five decades after independence have witnessed constant erosion of the
essential social, moral and spiritual values and an increase in cynicism at all
levels. Although schools are not isolated islands untouched by the prevailing
mood of indifference and even disregard for the entire value system, their
potential for and role in the task of guiding the national psyche cannot be
underestimated. Schools can and must strive to restore and sustain the
universal and eternal values oriented towards the unity and integration of the
people, their moral and spiritual growth enabling them to realise the treasure
within. People must realise who they are and what is the ultimate purpose of
human life. Self- recognition would come to them through proper value education
that would facilitate their spiritual march from the level of sub-consciousness
to that of super consciousness through the different intermediary stages.
education would help the nation fight against all kinds of fanaticism, ill
will, violence, fatalism, dishonesty, avarice, corruption, exploitation and
National Policy on Education (1986) lays emphasis on equity and social justice
in education to promote the country's unique socio-cultural identity and to
contribute to national cohesion, promoting tolerance, scientific temper and the
concerns enshrined in the Indian Constitution. The recommendations of the
Justice J.S. Verma Committee on Fundamental Duties of Citizens pave the way for
strong commitment to basic human values and social justice. The core components
of school curriculum as mentioned in the National Curriculum for Elementary and
Secondary Education A Framework (1988) are all the more relevant in the present
Constitutional Amendment incorporating the ten Fundamental Duties of Citizens
is a valuable pointer to what the country expects of its citizens. All these
must find a prominent place in the total education system of India including
the school environs.
School Curriculum in 1988 was designed to enable the learner to acquire
knowledge to develop concepts and inculcate values commensurate with the
social, cultural, economic and environmental realities at the national and
international levels. The social values aimed at were friendliness,
cooperativeness, compassion, self-discipline, courage, love for social justice,
etc. Truth, righteous conduct, peace, love and non-violence are the core
universal values that can become the foundation for building the value-based
education programme as per the recommendations of the S.B. Chavan Committee
Report submitted to the Indian Parliament in February, 1999. These five
universal values represent the five domains of the human personality
intellectual, physical, emotional, psychological and spiritualare
"correlated with the five major objectives of education, namely knowledge,
skill, balance, vision and identity." (81st Report on Value-Based
Education presented to Rajya Sabha on 26th February, 1999, Item No.8).
curriculum in schools has to develop the key qualities like regularity and
punctuality, cleanliness, self-control, industriousness, sense of duty, desire
to serve, responsibility, enterprise, creativity, sensitivity to greater
equality, fraternity democratic attitude and sense of obligation to
significant factor that merits urgent attention now is religion. Although it is
not the only source of essential values, it certainly is a major source of
value generation. What is required today is not religious education but
education about religions, their basics, the values inherent therein and also a
comparative study of the philosophy of all religions. These need to be
inculcated at appropriate stages in education right from the primary years.
Students have to be given the awareness that the essence of every religion is
common, only the practices differ. The students should also be led to believe
that differences of opinion in certain areas are also to be respected. The Chavan
Committee (1999) strongly urges education about religions as an instrument of
social cohesion and social and religious harmony. The UNESCO Department for
Intercultural Dialogue and Pluralism for a Culture of Peace pleads for
"Spiritual Convergence" and proposes to promote dialogue among the
different religious and spiritual traditions in a world where intra and
inter-religious conflicts have become the order of the day (January 2000). It
observes "that it is from early childhood that children should be
introduced to the discovery of "otherness", and to the values of
tolerance, respect, and confidence in the "other" that will bring
about a change of behaviour and attitudes towards others. The introduction of
specific teaching of intercultural and interreligious dialogue, through the
adequate pedagogical tools, is conceived as a means to foster reciprocal
knowledge of shared values contained in the message issued by religious and
spiritual traditions, which can be considered as a common spiritual and
a word of caution is required here. Education about religions must be handled
with extreme care. All steps must be taken in advance to ensure that no
personal prejudice or narrow minded perceptions are allowed to distort the real
purpose of this venture and no rituals, dogmas and superstitions are propagated
in the name of education about religions. All religions therefore have to be
treated with equal respect (Sarva Dharma Sambhav) and that there has to be no
discrimination on the ground of any religion (Panthnirapekshata)." From
the aforesaid paragraph, it can be culled out:
the object for value based education is to have national fight against all
kinds of fanaticism, ill-will, violence, dishonesty, corruption, exploitation
and drug abuses;
National policy on Education (1986) also lays down emphasis on equity and
social justice in education and to promote the country's unique, socio-cultural
identity and to contribute to national cohesion, promoting tolerance;
Enable the learner to acquire knowledge to develop concepts and inculcate
values commensurate with social values aimed at friendliness, cooperativeness. compassion,
self- discipline, courage, love for social justice, truth, righteous conduct
For religion, it is stated that students have to be given the awareness that
the essence of every religion is common, only practices differ;
a matter of caution it provides that all steps should be taken in advance to
ensure that no personal prejudices or narrow minded perceptions are allowed to
distort the real purpose of imparting education on religions; no righteous
dogmas and superstitions should be promoted to propagate in the name of
education about religions.
the aforesaid entire paragraph the learned counsel for the petitioners
vehemently objected only to the following part "what is required today is
not religious education but education about religions, their basics, the values
inherent therein and also comparative study of the philosophy of all
religions." It is contended that giving education about religions would be
violative of Article 28 and also it would offend the basic structure of the
Constitution, namely, secularism.
learned Solicitor General Shri Salve, submitted that for challenging the policy
framed by NCERT, petitioners have picked up some sentences out of the context.
This national curriculum is prepared on the basis of report submitted to the
Parliament on 22nd January, 1999 by the S.B. Chavan Committee which was
appointed by the Parliament in 1996. The report of the Committee is based on
earlier reports submitted by various Committees, namely, the Radhakrishnan
Commission (1948-49), Kothari Commission (1964- 66), National Policy on
Education (1986), Ramamurti Committee (1990), Central Advisory Board of
Education (CABE) Committee on Policy (1992), Planning Commission Core Group on
Value Orientation of Education (1992), which have highlighted the urgent need
for making the educational system value-based.
Secretary of respondent no.3 - NCERT, has filed affidavit stating therein that
the NCERT followed what the Parliamentary Committee asked it to do; The S.B. Chavan
Committee's report on value based education was tabled in Parliament; after its
approval, since there was no opposition, NCERT was asked to implement this
report. It is submitted that some of the recommendations in the curriculum
proposed by NCERT are virtual and verbatim copy of the report of the S.B. Chavan
Committee. Further, NCERT in fact consulted other institutions and other
individual experts and sent the draft curriculum document to the Education
Ministers of all the States and its Governments who would have been members of
the CABE, had it been reconstituted. Further, 13 Regional and National Seminars
were arranged by NCERT in different parts of India to find out reaction to this
new proposal. Majority of those who participated was for the new curriculum.
Therefore, to say that NCERT did not consult anyone is unfair and in ignorance
of facts and if not deliberate suppression of facts.
this stage, we would quote the relevant part of the S.B. Chavan Committee's
report as under:
Values are principles which are consistent and universal and which direct our
action and activities.
are in-built in our society, common to not only all the communities but also to
all religions at all times.
are, in other words, virtues in an individual.
values, if deteriorated, will hasten or accelerate the break-down of family,
society and nation as a whole.
has age-old tradition of values interwoven in the national fabric. Although
there has been great advancement in science and technology, there has been a
gradual erosion of values which is reflected in the day-to- day life of a large
section of our present society. Our young generation under the growing
influence of negative aspects of Western culture, is stranded on the
cross-roads, not able to decide which direction to take.
Education should aim at multi-faced development of a human being his
intellectual, physical, spiritual and ethical development. Youth is the mirror
in which future of a nation is fully reflected. In order to preserve, maintain
and advance the position of our country in the world, it is imperative that there
should be a comprehensive programme of value-education starting from the
pre-primary level, embracing the entire spectrum of educational process. The
minds, hearts and hands of children are to be engaged in forming their own
character to know what is `good', `love good' and `do good'.
Committee is aware that since independence, a number of higher-powered
Commissions and Committees on Education, namely, the Radhakrishnan Commission
(1948-49), Kothari Commission (1964-66), National Policy on Education (1986), Ramamurti
Committee (1990), Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) Committee on
Policy (1992), Planning Commission Core Group on Value Orientation of Education
(1992) have highlighted the urgent need for making our educational system value
based. However, the Committee finds it very disappointing to observe that such
well-concerted efforts during the last four decades have failed to achieve the
desired results. Well-chalked out plans and strategies for making education
value- oriented still remain on paper. The Committee feels that lack of co-ordinated
effort on the part of all the implementing agencies may be held responsible for
this sort of affairs."
Against this background, the Committee decided to re-examine the entire gamut
of value-orientation of our educational system so as to come up with some
effective suggestions for bringing about a much-awaited change.
that a smaller group would be in a better position to make an in-depth analysis
of the subject, a Sub-Committee on Value based Education was constituted on
16th January, 1997, which was subsequently re-constituted on 6th August, 1997.
as the work allocated to the Sub-Committee could not be completed during the
term of the previous main Committee, a new Sub-Committee came into being on 6th
Committee invited suggestions from noted educationists on various aspects of
value-based education, at what stage it should be introduced, whether both
Govt. and NGOs should be involved in this task and in what manner it should be
introduced. In order to have an over-all idea about the state-run value based
education programmes, the Committee held discussions with representatives of a
number of State Governments. The Committee was also benefited by views of quite
a few eminent experts/NGOs, doing pioneering work in this area. Besides that,
the Committee also held interactions with representatives of various Government
Organisations. An encouraging response from individuals/organisations was
received from all parts of the country. This showed the public concern with
this vital aspect the building up of our national character.
was generally felt that ours is a vast and diverse ancient country
historically, geographically and socially.
are different, the ways of thinking and living are also different. But there
are certain common elements which unite the country in its diversity. This
country has a long tradition. Here from ancient times, there have been great
saints and thinkers from different religions and sects who have talked about
some eternal values. These values are to be inculcated by our young generation.
ancient times in Gurukuls, emphasis used to be primarily on building the
character of a student. Today, right from the schools up to the professional
colleges, emphasis is on acquiring techniques and not values. We seem to have
forgotten that skills acquired on computers tend to become outdated after
sometime but values remain for ever. In other words, present day education is
nothing but an information transmission process. Our educational system aims at
only information based knowledge and the holistic views turning the student
into a perfect human being and a useful member of society has been completely
set aside. Swami Vivekananda aptly said, "Education is not the amount of
information that is put in your brain and runs riot there, undigested, all your
life. We must have life-building. Man- making, character-making, assimilation
education is identical with information, libraries are the greatest sages of
the world and encyclopedias are rishis."
Truth (Satya), Righteous Conduct (Dharma), Peace (Shanti), Love (Prema) and
Non-violence (Ahinsa) are the core universal values which can be identified as
the foundation stone on which the value-based education programme can be built
up. These five are indeed universal values and respectively represent the five
domains of human personality, intellectual, physical, emotional, psychological
and spiritual. They also are correspondingly co-related with the five major
objectives of education, namely, knowledge, skill, balance, vision and
Primary school stage is the period in child's life when seed of value-education
can be implanted in his/her impressionable mind in a very subtle way. If this
seed is nurtured by the capable hands of dedicated teachers in school, if they
insert values at appropriate intervals during a child's school life, it can be
easily said that half the battle in building up national character has been
is very essential that at the school level right from primary stage,
deliberate, planned and sustained efforts are made to inculcate basic human
values among the students. Values are best initiated by a mother to her small
child under her tender care in the secure atmosphere of home. However,
nowadays, children are enrolled in school as early as at the age of four. At
this impressionable stage, values like respect for parents, elders and
teachers, truth, punctuality, cleanliness and courtesy can be easily inculcated
in small children. They can also be sensitised regarding gender equality.
Besides the personal values, there are certain social values which ought to be
imbibed by the young mind.
are the values which concern the whole community concern for the aged and the
handicapped, for the deprived sections of the society etc. Sincere belief in
the dignity of labour is generally found to be lacking in our young generation.
Values of self-dependence and insistence on doing manual labour are thus
required to be impressed upon small children.
view of the diverse character of our country, it is essential that certain
National Values are also imbibed by our young students. They should be
acquainted with the history of India's freedom struggle, cultural heritage,
constitutional obligations and the features comprising our national identity.
The Committee feels that some of these national values can be imparted
indirectly at the primary stage while at the middle and secondary level, these can
be included in the curriculum.
Another aspect that must be given some thought is religion, which is the most
misused and misunderstood concept. The process of making the students
acquainted with the basics of all religions, the values inherent therein and
also a comparative study of the philosophy of all religions should begin at the
middle stage in schools and continue up to the university level. Students have
to be made aware that the basic concept behind every religion is common, only
the practices differ. Even if there are differences of opinion in certain
areas, people have to learn to co-exist and carry no hatred against any
One should never forget that all the values are derived from ultimate reality
supreme power or self- consciousness to which man orients himself. Once faith
in that reality is lost, then values lose their meaning.
believe that we have the divide spark in each one of us is the most important
eternal value to be inculcated by the small children even before starting their
acknowledged now the world over that ultimate goal of education is realisation
of the treasure within.
The Committee is in agreement with the widely- accepted view that value-based
education should be introduced at the school level and extended to college and
university level. In the secondary stage, some advanced values which are of
vital importance for national integration should be integrated into the
With the advancement in information technology, audio-visual media has
dominated the information/knowledge system of our country. Under the invasion
of Western culture penetrating into India through the media, the young are
being literally moved away from our age-old traditions and values. Any attempt
to instil indigenous values in students in schools, colleges are over-shadowed
by the over- whelming impact of Western culture. The Committee is of the
considered view that stringent efforts are required on the part of the Govt. to
monitor the programmes being aired/telecast through its media. Similar steps
need to be taken so as to have a mechanism of quality control of programmes
under the control of private agencies too." Undisputedly, the aforesaid
S.B. Chavan Committee's report was placed before the Parliament for discussion.
None can also dispute that past five decades have witnessed constant erosion of
the essential social, moral and spiritual values and increase in cynicism at
all levels. We are heading for a materialistic society disregarding the entire
value based social system. None can also dispute that in secular society, moral
values are of utmost importance. Society where there are no moral values, there
would neither be social order nor secularism. Bereft of moral values secular
society or democracy may not survive. As observed by the Committee, values are
virtues in an individual and if these values deteriorate, it will hasten or
accelerate the break down of the family, society and nation as a whole. In a
society where there is constant evaporation of social and moral values for
getting property, power or post, is it not advisable to have solid social
foundation from base level so that a grown up person would fight against all
kinds of fanaticism, ill will, violence, dishonesty, corruption and exploitation?
Answer would obviously be 'yes'.
for controlling wild animal instinct in human beings and for having civilized
cultural society, it appears that religions have come into existence. Religion
is the foundation for value base survival of human beings in a civilized
society. The force and sanction behind civilized society depends upon moral
of co-existence and how to co-exist is thought over by the Saints all over the
world which is revealed by various philosophers.
co-exist, not only with human beings but all living beings on the earth, may be
animals, vegetation and environment including air and water, is thought over
and discussed by Saints and leaders all over the world which is reflected in
religions. If that is taught, it cannot be objected as it is neither violative
of constitutional or legal rights nor it offends moral values. This has been
dealt with elaborately by the S.B. Chavan Committee. The Committee as stated
above had invited suggestions from noted educationists on various aspect of
value based education. As stated by the Committee it had benefited by the views
of eminent experts/NGOs doing pioneering work in this area. Further, no one can
dispute that truth (satya), righteous conduct (dharma), peace (shanti), love ( prem)
and non- violence (ahinsa) are the core universal values accepted by all
religions. Committee has also pointed out that religion is the most misused and
misunderstood concept. However, the process of making the students acquainted
with basics of all religions, the values inherited therein and also a
comparative study of the philosophy of all religions should begin; students
have to be made aware that the basic concept behind every religion is common,
only the practices differ. If these recommendations made by the Parliamentary
Committee are accepted by the NCERT and are sought to be implemented, it cannot
be stated that its action is arbitrary or unjustified.
it appears to be totally wrong presumption and contention that knowledge of different
religions would bring disharmony in the society. On the contrary, knowledge of
various religious philosophies is material for bringing communal harmony as
ignorance breeds hatred because of wrong notions, assumption, preaching and
propaganda by misguided interested persons.
NCFSE would also be in consonance with the fundamental duties enshrined under
Article 51A of the Constitution, which inter alia provides as under:
Fundamental duties. It shall be the duty of every citizen of India:
promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of
India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities;
to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers
and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;
safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
" Let us ask a question to ourselves whether during the last more than
five decades, have we tried to safeguard the public property and to abjure
violence? Whether bandhs for attaining a political object or strike for
redressing the grievances have not increased the violence? In most of the
cases, public properties are targeted and damaged. Loss is to the nation.
Further, are we trying to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood
among all people of India believing in different religions?
It appears that we have not taken necessary steps for such a purpose. Similarly,
uptil now instead of protecting and improving the natural environment, we have
damaged it. There is wide spread deforestation; lakes are being used for
constructing buildings and we are losing compassion for living creatures
including human beings. Why that is so? Let it be discussed by experts. May be
that basics of all religions may help in achieving the objects behind
A.S. Narayana Deekshitulu v. State of A.P.
and others [(1996) 9 SCC 548], in a concurring judgment Justice Hansaria aptly
pointed out difference between 'religion' and 'dharma' and observed thus:
Our dharma is said to be 'Sanatana' i.e. one which has eternal values; one
which is neither time- bound nor space-bound. It is because of this that Rig
Veda has referred to the existence "Sanatan Dharmani".
concept of 'dharma', therefore, has been with us for time immemorial. The word
is derived from the root 'Dh.r' which denotes: 'upholding', 'supporting',
'nourishing' and 'sustaining'. It is because of this that in Karna Parva of the
Mahabharata, Verse 58 in Chapter 69 says:
is for the stability of the society, the maintenance of social order and the
general well-being and progress of humankind. Whatever conduces to the fulfilment
of these objects is Dharma; that is definite." (This is the English
translation of the verse as finding place in the aforesaid Convocation Address
by Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma) 144. The Brhadaranyakopanishad identified dharma
with truth, and declared its supreme status thus:
is nothing higher than dharma.
very weak man hopes to prevail over a very strong man on the strength of
dharma, just as (he prevails over a wrongdoer) with the help of the King. So
what is called dharma is really truth.
people say about a man who declares the truth that he is declaring dharma and
about one who declares dharma they say he speaks the truth.
two (dharma and truth) are this." (English translation of the original
text as given in the aforesaid Convocation Address) 145. The essential aspect
of our ancient thought concerning law was the clear recognition of the
supremacy of dharma and the clear articulation of the status of 'dharma' which
is somewhat akin to the modern concept of the rule of law, i.e. of all being
sustained and regulated by it.
In Verse 9 of Chapter 5 in the Ashrama Vasika Parva of the Mahabharata, Dhritrashtra
states to Yudhisthira: "The State can only be preserved by dharma under
the rule of law." 147. Ashoka mentioned about victory of dharma in his
rock edict at Kalsi which proclaimed his achievement in terms of the moral and
ethical imperatives of dharma, and exemplified the ancient dictum: ";rks ?keZLrrks
t;:" (where there is Law, there is Victory).
The author goes on to say that the perennial truths, rules, and laws that help
maintain peace and harmony in one's individual and in the community life
constitute dharma. It applies for all times and in all places. Social laws and
even national constitutions devoid of such a dharma will lead a society towards
an inevitable decline.
..In the practice of dharma, one is advised to shed the veil of ignorance and practise
truthfulness in one's thoughts, speech, and actions. How can dharma be secret,
having revelation as its source? Withholding nothing, all the great sages in
the world shared their knowledge with humanity. In the Bhagavad Gita, the
Bible, Koran, and Dhammapada knowledge, like the sun, shines for all.
It is because of the above that if one were to ask "What are the signs and
symptoms of dharma?", the answer is: that which has no room for narrow-
mindedness, sectarianism, blind faith, and dogma. The purity of dharma,
therefore, cannot be compromised with sectarianism. A sectarian religion is
open to a limited group of people whereas dharma embraces all and excludes
none. This is the core of our dharma, our psyche." It is crystal clear
that the word "religion" has different shades and colours. Important
shade is dharma (duty). That is to say, duty towards the society and the soul.
In Santosh Kumar and others v. Secretary, Ministry of Human Resources
Development and another [(1994) 6 SCC 579], the Court negatived the contention
that teaching of Sanskrit language as an elective subject would act against
secularism as accepted by nine-Judge Bench of this Court in S.R. Bommai v.
Union of India [(1994) 3 SCC 1] and held thus:
For the disposal of the cases at hand it is not necessary to elaborately
discuss what are the basic requirements of secularism inasmuch as in Bommai
case this exercise has been well done by the learned Judges. It would be enough
for our purpose to note what some of the learned Judges said in this regard. Sawant,
J., with whom one of us (Kuldip Singh, J.) agreed, quoted in para 147 of the
report what Shri M.C. Setalvad had stated on secularism in his Patel Memorial
Lectures, 1965. One of the observations made by Setalvad was that a secular
State is not hostile to religion but holds itself neutral in matters of
religion. The further observation in para 148 is that the State's tolerance of
religion does not make it either a religious or a theocratic State. Ramaswami,
J. stated in para 179 that secularism represents faiths born out of the
exercise of rational faculties and it enables to see the imperative
requirements for human progress in all aspects and cultural and social
advancement and indeed for human survival itself.
would be profitable to note that according to Justice H.R. Khanna secularism is
neither anti-God nor pro-God; it treats alike the devout, the agnostic and the
atheist. According to him, secularism is not antithesis of religious
devoutness. He would like to dispel the impression that if a person is devout
Hindu or devout Muslim he ceases to be secular. This is illustrated by saying
that Vivekananda and Gandhiji were the greatest Hindus yet their entire life
and teachings embodied the essence of secularism. (See his article "The
Spirit of Secularism" as printed in Secularism and India:
and Challenges edited by Shri M.M. Sankhdhar.) Therefore, in our view, the word
'religion' should not be misunderstood nor contention could be raised that as
it is used in the national policy of education, secularism would be at peril.
On the contrary, let us have a secularistic democracy where even a very weak
man hopes to prevail over a very strong man (having post, power or property) on
the strength of rule of law by proper understanding of duties towards the
Society. Value based education is likely to help the nation to fight against
all kinds of prevailing fanaticism, ill-will, violence, dishonesty, corruption,
exploitation and drug abuses. As stated above, the NCF 1988 was designed to
enable the learner to acquire knowledge and was aimed at self-discipline,
courage, love for social justice etc. truth, righteous conduct, peace,
non-violence which are core universal values that can become the foundation for
building the value based education. These high values cannot be achieved
without knowledge of moral sanction behind it. For this purpose, knowledge of what
is thought over by the leaders in past is required to be understood in its true
spirit. Let knowledge, like the sun, shine for all and that there should not be
any room for narrow-mindedness, blind faith and dogma. For this purpose also,
if basic tenets of all religions over the world are learnt, it cannot be said
that secularism would not survive.
counsel for the petitioners heavily relied upon Article 28 of the Constitution
for contending that national curriculum is against the mandate of the said
Article. For appreciating the said contention, we would first refer to Article
Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in
certain educational institutions.
religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly
maintained out of State funds.
Nothing in clause (1) shall apply to an educational institution which is
administered by the State but has been established under any endowment or trust
which requires that religious instruction shall be imparted in such
person attending any educational institution recognised by the State or
receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to take part in any
religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any
religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises
attached thereto unless such person or, if such person is a minor, his guardian
has given his consent thereto."
substance, the aforesaid Article prohibits imparting of religious instructions
in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds. At the
same time, there is no such prohibition where such an educational institution
is established under any endowment or trust which requires that religious
instruction shall be imparted in such institution.
no person attending any educational institution recognised by the State or
receiving aid out of State funds could be compelled to take part in any
religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any
religious worship that may be conducted in such institution. So the entire
emphasis of the Article is against imparting religious instruction or of
performing religious worship. There is no prohibition for having study of
religious philosophy and culture, particularly for having value based social
life in a society which is degenerating for power, post or property. In DAV
College v. State of Punjab [(1971) 2 SCC 269] the constitutional validity of
certain provisions of Guru Nanak University, Amritsar, Act 21 of 1969 was
challenged by DAV (Dayanand Anglo Vedic) College Trust. The Trust was formed to
perpetuate the memory of Swami Dayanand Saraswati who was the founder of an organisation
known as Arya Samaj. It was claimed that it was having fixed religious programme
and its constitution is designed to perpetuate the religious teaching and
philosophy of its founder. It was inter alia contended that as the Guru Nanak
University was wholly maintained out of the State funds and the provision under
Section 4(2) offends Article 28(1) which is not saved by clause (2) thereof and
in that context the Court observed (in para 24) thus:
.If the University makes provision for an academic study and research of the
life and teachings of any saint it cannot on any reasonable view be considered
to require Colleges affiliated to the University to compulsorily study his life
and teachings or to do research in them. The impugned provision would merely
indicate that the University can institute courses of study or provide research
facilities for any student of the University whether he belongs to the majority
or the minority community to engage himself in such study or research but be it
remembered that this study and research on the life and teachings of the Guru
Nanak must be a study in relation to their culture and religious impact in the
context of Indian and world civilizations which is mostly an academic and
philosophical study." The Court further observed (in para 26) as under:
Even so the petitioners have still to make out that Section 4(2) implies that
religious instruction will be given. We think that such a contention is too
remote and divorced from the object of the provision. Religious instruction is
that which is imparted for inculcating the tenets, the rituals, the
observances, ceremonies and modes of worship of a particular sect or
provide for academic study of life and teaching or the philosophy and culture
of any great saint of India in relation to or the impact on the
Indian and world civilizations cannot be considered as making provision for
religious instructions." The learned counsel for the petitioners next
contended that if philosophy of religion spills into teaching religious tenets,
it would fall under "religious instructions". In our view, this
submission is hypothetical, premature and without any basis as it is on the
assumption that under the guise of religious philosophy, religious instructions
would be imparted. Hence, in our view, it is not necessary to refer to the
discussion relied upon by the learned counsel in the Constituent Assembly
debates. However, we would make it clear that the said discussion is pertaining
to religious instructions.
Submissions A. Regarding Sanskrit Language Learned senior counsel Mr. Vaidyanathan
further submitted that Sanskrit language is imposed in an unjustified manner.
Sanskrit language being imposed, it has been pointed that allegation is wholly
wrong. The provisions only enable this language to be taught to those students
who wish to study it. Sanskrit may be made available as an additional option at
the secondary stage and as suitable elective course to all those who wish to
study it at the higher secondary stage. It is also pointed out that Sanskrit is
one of the official languages of India. Reliance is placed on Santosh Kumar's case (Supra), wherein this Court
has emphasized the importance of Sanskrit study and declared the omission of
Sanskrit from CBSE syllabus as unjustified.
aforesaid case, the Court observed thus:
.we entertain no doubt in our mind that teaching of Sanskrit alone as an
elective subject can in no way be regarded as against secularism. Indeed, our
Constitution requires giving of fillip to Sanskrit because of what has been
stated in Article 351, in which while dealing with the duty of the Union to
promote the spread of Hindi, it has been provided that it would draw, whenever
necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit.
Encouragement to Sanskrit is also necessary because of it being one of the
languages included in the Eighth Schedule.
We, therefore, conclude by saying that in view of importance of Sanskrit for
nurturing our cultural heritage, because of which even the official education
policy has highlighted the need of study of Sanskrit, making of Sanskrit alone
as an elective subject, while not conceding this status to Arabic and/or
Persian, would not in any way militate against the basic tenet of secularism.
There is thus no merit in the first objection raised by the Board."
Regarding Vedic Astrology It is pointed out that what has been mentioned in the
curriculum is 'astronomy' and not 'vedic astrology'. Astronomy is well known
science and different from vedic astrology.
Regarding Vedic Mathematics It is submitted that there is no question of
imposition of vedic mathematics. It has not been made part of the curriculum
but suggested as a computational aid. In teaching mathematics, the teachers are
free to merely use it or not as an available idea. It is pointed out that
merely because epithet 'vedic' is used, the petitioners has attempted to
attribute something of religion to it. The word 'vedic' in this context
indicates only time factor.
Regarding Hindu Festivals being treated as National Festivals.
submitted that this is a clear distortion as the curriculum book no where says
so. On the other hand, it says "Schools may organise joint celebration of
festivals of major religions and cultural groups. This would generate better
understanding of and appreciation and respect for one another and create a
tolerant and cohesive society."
is contended that instead of emphasizing development of scientific temper and
imparting knowledge to children, to help them develop their own views something
contrary is tried to be implemented. There is also distortion of version of
history by using the words "Mughals invaded the country as against Britishers
conquered the country." The aforesaid submission does not deserve any
consideration hence rejected.
Learned senior counsel, Mr. Vaidyanathan, vehemently submitted that NCFSE also
runs contrary to Article 14 of the Constitution in as much as it seeks to categorise
students into 'gifted' and otherwise for separate treatment only on the basis
of 'spiritual quotients' and 'intelligence quotients'. It is his contention
that 'intelligence quotient' has been banned through out by the United States
of America as not being the correct method to test students.
quotient' is not valid anywhere else in the world.
the basis of such classification is wholly arbitrary.
aforesaid question cannot be decided in a writ petition under Article 32. It is
for the experts to lay down the criteria for evaluating the
merits/gradation/standard of the students and to decide whether criteria
adopted in U.S.A. should be followed or not.
with CABE In the result, we hold that non-consultation with CABE cannot be held
to be a ground for setting aside the National Curriculum Framework for School
Education (NCFSE) as a) CABE is not a statutory body;
There is nothing in the resolution passed by the Government constituting the
CABE in 1986 and 1990 that CABE is required to be consulted before framing
NCFSE. Functions of the CABE are mainly to advise the Government and
co-ordinate between the Centre and State in implementing the National Education
one or other reason, it is not reconstituted after 1994, may be that ex-officio
members at present constitute CABE. However, we are not required to decide why
the CABE is not reconstituted. It is for the Government or for the Parliament
to decide the said question and to reconstitute the same as it is or by making
it a compact Board as suggested by the Prime Minister which is evident from the
letter dated 12th
February, 1997 written
by the Deputy Secretary, Government of India, for reconstitution of CABE.
NCERT is constituted under the Rules. It also consists of ex-officio members as
well as representatives of Parliament and experts in the education.
of Article 28 The NCFSE nowhere talks of imparting religious instructions as
prohibited under Article 28. What is sought is to have value based education
and for 'religion' it is stated that students be given the awareness that the
essence of every religion is common. Only practices differ. There is a specific
caution that all steps should be taken in advance to ensure that no personal
prejudices or narrow minded perceptions are allowed to distort the real
purpose. Dogmas and superstitions should not be propagated in the name of
education about religions. What is sought to be imparted is incorporated in
Article 51(A)(e), which provides "to promote harmony and the spirit of
common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious,
linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices
derogatory to the dignity of women" And to see that universal values, such
as truth, righteous conduct, peace, love and non-violence be the foundation of
result, this petition is dismissed with no order as to costs.
relief granted by this Court stands vacated. IAs seeking intervention in this
matter stand disposed of accordingly.