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Upendra Bharti | HENB | Mumbai | Sep 16, 2016:: The Bombay High Court today declined to grant an interim stay on implementation of a resolution making yoga and ‘Surya Namaskar’ (sun salutation) mandatory in civic schools in the metropolis, saying it is just a form of exercise which is good for the body.
The designated bench in High Court questioned what harm is there if Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation makes surya namaskar compulsory in all civic schools in Mumbai.
Masood Ansari, an Islamic activist with Jihadi mentality from Kurla and former corporator, had filed a public interest litigation in the HC challenging the August 23 resolution passed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), contending that it violated fundamental rights and is “malafide and bad in law”.
According to the petitioner, children attending BMC- run schools mainly belong to poorer sections of society and come from all religions, castes and communities.
A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M S Sonak, however, observed that people should not look at it just by the name ‘Suryanamaskar’.
“Don’t go by the name… it is just a form of exercise which is good for the body,” Chief Justice Chellur said.
The HC, while posting the petition for further hearing after two weeks, declined to grant an interim stay on implementation of the resolution.
Anjali Awasthi, counsel for the petitioner, argued today that minor students cannot be expected to perform ‘Surya Namaskar’, which a combination of 12 ‘asanas’, daily.
The counsel for the petitioner, argued that surya namaskar is to be performed on empty stomach. “Children go to school after having breakfast. Therefore, it will not be proper for them to perform this exercise during morning prayers,” she said. Justice Chellur said there are various kinds of surya namaskar and it remains to be seen which one BMC will make compulsory for students and if that particular kind of exercise is appropriate for them. Awasthi also said the resolution makes its compulsory to chant certain mantras. The court has posted the hearing in the last week of September.
To this, the HC said it would consider this argument at a later stage and would call for a report to ascertain if the sun salutation exercise can be performed by minors.