National integrity is more important than divisions
Schools cannot create segregation
New Delhi/ Nagpur: In a politically charged atmosphere where the emphasis is on social uniformity, the Delhi high court has a message for the rulers—cohesion over fusion. While quashing the 60% quota for children of elite government servants in Sanskriti School on Friday, the court referred to the “Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb” to underscore the need to have an inclusive primary education system where students from diverse background could learn together, said media reports.
Writing for the bench, Justice Pradeep Nandrajog said that education was “the foundation” on which to build an edifice of social harmony, and “the means through which one hopes to root out the divides that exist in society and integrate the country” are vital.
The court wondered why, despite the recommendations of the Kothari Commission to promote a common school system prioritising equality and social justice at basic education level, the school appeared to promote segregation.
“The Commission warned this is bad not only for the children of the poor but also for the children of the rich and the privileged groups since by segregating their children, such privileged parents prevent them from sharing the life and experience of the poor and coming into contact with the realities of life and also render the education of their own children anaemic and incomplete”,the bench said.
Recalling how Sanskriti School was uniquely established, the court recalled that in 1995 the “Cabinet secretary, the foreign secretary, the defence secretary, the secretary, ministry of commerce, the secretary of the department of Urban development, the advisor (staff) of railway board and nine other senior officers of the Union government met on behalf of the central government and the Union of India took the decision that the ministry of Urban development shall allot 7.78 acres of land in Chanakyapuri to the Civil Services Society at a token cost of Rs 1 with annual premium of Re 1.”
Saying that the objective of any school should be to “root out the divides in society”, the court said that a common school system rejected “unicultural regimentation or mono-cultural domination”. It highlighted that India comprised myriad streams of culture, “about 16 major languages, 2000 dialects, a dozen ethnic groups, seven religious communities fragmented into subsects and sub-castes that inhibit 68 socio-cultural sub-regions, and therefore, India exhibits a distinct eternal homogeneity and external identity.”
Welcoming the verdict against Sanskriti, advocate Ashok Agarwal, who was one of the parties in the case, said, “There must be equal and inclusive education in public funded schools in the country, which is not the case currently.”