Judicial Overreach? Now Madras HC Decides Weight Of School Bags, Homework For Kids

Swami Vivekanand International School in Gorai (Prasad Gori/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Madras High Court yesterday (29 June) passed an interim order on a petition filed by an advocate, M Purushothaman. According to the Deccan Chronicle, the petition sought to make the Court pass directions to CBSE schools to ‘purchase only books published by NCERT and to prescribe syllabus of NCERT’.

In its order, the Court also instructed the Centre to ask state governments to reduce the weight of school bags and not give homework to students of grade I and II. According to the report, ‘state governments were asked to ensure that weight of the satchels shall not be more than 10 per cent of the weight of the child.’

With regard to homework, there was a counter affidavit filed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) which said that “there is no homework up to class II and (homework can be given) two hours a week from class III.” In effect, this means that no CBSE-affiliated school can give students homework up to class II.

While the consequences of the order can be discussed and debated, the question of judicial overreach that it raises cannot be overlooked. In an ideal scenario, education policy of schools of a country should be decided by schools, and if the state has to play a part in it, it should be through the Ministry of HRD. Judiciary passing orders on homework of students is a worrying development. Once the judiciary takes it upon itself to decide the quantum of homework of children, where does it stop?

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