The Bombay High Court today directed a municipal councillor and a social worker, who had challenged a resolution passed by BMC making ‘Surya Namaskar’ (sun salutation) mandatory in civic schools of the metropolis, to approach the state government first.
Samajwadi Party councillor from Mumbai Central, Rais Shaikh, and social worker Masood Ansari had filed public interest litigations earlier this month seeking stay on the resolution passed by the civic body on August 23 this year, contending that it violates fundamental rights and is “malafide and bad in law”.
A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M S Sonak directed both the petitioners to make a representation to the state government first.
The court said that under provisions of the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, the state government has powers to set aside decisions and resolutions passed by the civic body.
The HC directed government to take a decision on the representation within two weeks from when it will be filed.
The court said the petitioners should first exhaust this remedy and after that, if required, can approach the court once again and disposed of the two PILs.
Rais Shaikh, in his petition, claimed ‘Surya Namaskar’ is opposed to the fundamental concept of Islam and is therefore, a violation of the fundamental religious rights of students studying in Urdu medium schools run by BMC.
Shaikh said that of the 1,285 schools civic-run schools in which Suryanamaskar has been made mandatory along with the morning prayers, 400 schools are Urdu medium, in which about one lakh students study. A majority of these are followers of Islam, he added.
Earlier this month, the HC had declined to grant an interim stay on implementation of a resolution making yoga and ‘Surya Namaskar’ mandatory in Mumbai’s civic schools, saying it is just a form of exercise which is good for the body.
Ansari’s counsel had then argued that minor students cannot be expected to daily perform ‘Surya Namaskar’, which a combination of 12 ‘asanas’.
To this, the HC had said it would consider this argument at a later stage and would call for a report to ascertain if the sun salutation exercise can be performed by minors.
( Source – PTI )