The High Court of Karnataka has reserved for judgment a 1995 petition challenging the various provisions of the Karnataka Education Act, 1983. The provisions challenged include the reservation for appointment of staff in unaided schools and prescription of syllabus by the State government.
On Thursday, the HC reserved the case for judgment after the government failed to file any objections. Private schools in Karnataka have approached the High Court of Karnataka, seeking among other things, permission to draft textbooks on their own.
The Karnataka Unaided Schools Managements’ Association (KUSMA) in their petition have sought “the State government ought not to prescribe any particular publication or textbook as the sole and exclusive reading material in private unaided schools; and that, private unaided schools are free to choose a textbook of their choice so long as such textbooks adhere to the syllabus prescribed by the State government.” The provisions of the Karnataka Education Act, 1983 in this regard has been challenged.
KUSMA has also challenged several other provisions of the Karnataka Education Act including Section 5 read with Section 41(3), which prescribes reservation in the matter of appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff in private unaided schools. It has sought for the striking down of this Section as unconstitutional.
The petition also seeks direction to the State government not to enforce the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education, which imposes reservation of seats in favour of weaker sections and disadvantaged groups in private unaided schools.
Another challenge is made to Section 7(1)(f) of the same Act. The petition states that private unaided educational institutions should be allowed to “determine a reasonable fee structure and to not be subject to a rigid and stereotypical fee structure imposed by the government.” The petition came up for hearing before the division bench of Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Vishwajit Shetty on Thursday.
The advocate for KUSMA, K V Dhananjay pointed to the recent controversy about Savarkar in Karnataka government text books. He also cited the example of the 1984 Sikh riots and said even Sikh schools cannot teach them.
The case has been reserved for judgment.