Karnataka High Court on Wednesday stayed the order of the state government issued on 15th and 27th June 2020 which put a ban on conducting online classes for classes LKG to 10 in view of COVID-19.
The interim order was passed by the division bench comprising of justice Abhay Oka and Justice Natraj Rangaswamy taking up the issue as a bunch of writ petitions were filed.
“That part of the order of June 14 and June 27 which imposes ban on classes of LKG to 10th will remain stayed,” said the HC bench.
The bench further added that prima facie we are of the view that both orders of June 15 and June 27encraoched upon the fundamental right conferred by Article 21 and Article 21A of the constitution of India.
The bench went further and said that in the prevailing circumstances and keeping in mind that the date of a new academic year has already started, online classes is the only way to impart education to students till date. Keeping in mind that in the unlock phase government will decide on reopening of schools after July which seems difficult as India is now the 3rd worst-hit country by the pandemic in the world.
Adding to it the bench further clarified and said the order should not be construed otherwise and the authorities are not allowed to make online classes compulsory and charging any extra fee keeping in mind the underprivileged students.
“We find no rationality on stopping the classes, the state making arrangements for the students so that all can join, is no way logical to stop the elite/private schools,” stated the court.
“We can’t understand why the classes were banned from 6th to 10th on 27th June while there was no such order earlier and no guidelines as such by the HRD ministry under the pragyata guidelines,” added the bench.
The bench referred to the judgment of the apex court in the case of Unnikrishnan vs state of Andhra Pradesh and Ng Komon vs the state of Manipur wherein the hon’ble supreme court has held that right to education is a fundamental right and ordered that no one should be deprived of his fundamental rights it is the duty of the government to provide infrastructure respectively.
The state government represented by AG Navadgi submitted before the court that online classes can have an effect on children and imparting education on them as they need a kind of parentage more than education in early school life. Moreover, he also defended the government that a huge number is deprived of joining the online classes and presented data. He had also put emphasis on art.162 which gives executive power to the government. He also informed the court that the government has modified its earlier order dated 14th June and allowed conducting classes for students for a limited time as in the notice.
However the court said that Article 162 does not give power to the government that affects the fundamental rights, it requires an authority of law and cannot be done simply an executive order.
The bench said that the government has no power under the Karnataka Education act, 1983 to put a ban or restrictions on imparting online education.
(This news has been written and submitted by Mr. Nikhil during his course of internship at B&B Associates LLP. Mr. Nikhil is a third-year law student of Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur.)