While hearing a matter challenging the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s decision to make Surya Namaskar mandatory in municipal-run
schools, the Bombay High Court Friday said there was nothing wrong with the idea as Surya Namaskar was just a form of exercise.
A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M S Sonak observed that people should not read much into it just because it was called ‘surya namaskar’.
“Don’t go by the name…it is just a form of exercise,” said Chief Justice Chellur.
Masood Ansari, a social worker, had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the High Court challenging the resolution passed by the municipal corporation on August 23 on the ground that it violated fundamental rights and was ‘malafide and bad in law’.
Adovocate Anjali Awasthi, appearing for the petitioner, argued that students, who were minors, could not be expected to perform surya namaskar, especially as the exercise had to be done on an empty stomach.
The High Court said it would consider this argument at a later stage and would call for a report from experts to ascertain the issue raised by the petitioner.
The court has posted the petition for further hearing after two weeks.
According to the petitioner, children attending BMC-run schools mainly belong to poorer sections of the society and come from all religions, castes and community.
“The resolution passed by the BMC in August 2016 for making ‘surya namaskar’ and ‘yoga’ mandatory in all municipal schools at the time of prayers is illegal, null, void, bad in law and should be quashed and set aside by the High Court,” said the petition.
The petition further claimed that the resolution “also seeks to force children from other communities, such as Muslim, Parsi, Sikh, Christian, Jain, Dalit Community, to follow a particular part of Hindu religion in the name of ‘surya namaskar’.”
The resolution, however, is yet to be implemented by the BMC.