The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday suspended certain parts of the state government notifications placing restrictions on conduct of online classes by private schools.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Nataraj Rangaswamy passed the interim order staying the operation of Government Orders issued on June 15 and June 27 respectively. The Bench passed the interim order on the petitions filed by parents of children and several educational institutions questioning the legality of the ban and the restrictions imposed.
The court further clarified that school authorities does not have the right to make online education compulsory for students, or charge any extra fee for the same. The bench held:
“Our order should not be construed to mean that students who do not opt for online education should be deprived of their normal education as and when the schools are able to start education.”
The court was of the opinion that the executive orders passed by the government according to Article 162 of the Constitution cannot over shadow fundamental rights under Article 21 and Article 21 A.
The Court also noted that academic year has commenced and schools being closed, the only way of imparting education was by providing the facility of online classes.
Advocate General Prabhuling Navdgi submitted to the court that the state was aiming to evolve a uniform, affordable and non-discriminatory policy system for students from all sections of the society. That is why the government had constituted a committee of experts to study the subject from all aspects, including children’s mental health and asked to give its view.
The Court also stated that it was difficult for the Government to derive support from the opinion expressed by NIMHANS, Bangalore.
The High Court of Karnataka had previously directed the Advocate General to place on record and circulate the NIMHANS report, while hearing pleas challenging the ban imposed by Karnataka government on online classes.
Therefore, the interim arrangement was made after the Court had observed that the State couldn’t have passed an order to prevent schools under all boards from conducting online classes and had asked the State government to come up with a solution or allow online classes for certain hours.