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One Nation, One Education Board: Supreme Court seeks response from Centre

by Manmath Nayak

In a significant development, the Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Centre, seeking a reply on whether it is possible to introduce such policy in the country under which all schools would have a common syllabus.

The direction came from a bench comprising  Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit tasked with hearing a petition seeking the introduction of ‘One Nation-One Education Board’, filed by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay. Before the bench could entertain the plea, they felt they needed the Centre’s opinion on the feasibility of introducing such a system in the country. Consequently, the court has asked the government to file a response in eight weeks time.

Expressing its reservations on the enforceability of such a verdict, the bench stated, “It looks very rosy and attractive but it may not be enforceable. We should not pass an order which could not be implemented. You should better approach the government”.

However, the court heard the plea after the petitioner insisted that the bench should at least seek a response from the government. The bench has also asked additional solicitor general Sandeep Sethi to assist them on how to implement and achieve one education board for all schools.

“Value-based common education system which includes common syllabus and curriculum is not only necessary for social economic equality but also essential to promote fraternity, assuring dignity of the individual and unity and national integration. Many countries have already implemented it. In India too, not only the syllabus and curriculum, even the school dress is common in all Central Schools and Navodaya Schools. Tamil Nadu has already implemented it,” the petitioner said.

“It may be pertinent to ponder as to why we as an Indian do not stand united on national issues. In the petitioner’s humble opinion, there is one major reason and that is we don’t have common education system defining and embodying the great golden goals as set out in the Preamble and the length and breadth of our Constitution,” the petitioner added.

A similar petition was dismissed last year in December, by a Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud. The bench had decided that it was impossible to introduce a common syllabus for all schools across the country.

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