Bhopal : The Madhya Pradesh High Court in an interim order Friday directed the state government not to force educational institutions to conduct the yoga exercise suraya namaskar, or salutation to the sun.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state government had two years ago made ‘surya namaskar’ compulsory in schools and colleges – which the minorities, Christians and Muslims, protested as an attempt to impose Hindu rituals on students of minority communities.
The Catholic Church went to the Madhya Pradesh High Court bringing to its notice that the order of the state government violates Section 25 to 30 of the Fundamental Rights of the Constitution under which the minority institutions are governed.
Advocate Rajesh Chand who appeared for the Catholic Church on behalf of Fr. Anand Muttungal (church spokesman) also pointed out that the order was against the interim order of the high court in the same matter in 2007.
He requested the court to give an interim order to stop the state government from making surya namaskar compulsory and initiate action against officials who violate the court order.
“In the light of the above arguments, the Jabalpur bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court comprising of Chief Justice A.K. Patnayik and Ajit Singh, Friday issued an interim order to the government to abstain from exerting any preasure on students and schools that do not take part in the surya namaskar,” Rajesh Chand told IANS.
The court, he said, has also issued notices to the chief secretary, principal secretary education, education commissioner, district education officer Jhabua and Rajgarh in this regard.
Archbishop Dr. Leo Cornelio, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Council, has welcomed the order of the court.