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12-year-old files petition for physical classes cites mental health reasons

A 12-year-old student has petitioned the Supreme Court to reinstate physical education programmes. Students' mental health and access to mid-day meals were listed as reasons by the student.

“You tell this young youngster to concentrate on his studies and not file these petitions,” SC justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud observed.

“He has requested that physical lessons be reopened and that criteria for offline classes be established. I'm not suggesting that this is a publicity stunt, but children should not be involved,” he stated.

“Can we claim that Kerala's circumstance is the same as Maharashtra's or that Delhi's position is the same as Bengal's?” the judge said.

He stated that states must provide free and compulsory education, that governments are ultimately responsible, and that schools must be reopened.

“We cannot issue a legal order requiring children to return to school. We've just finished the second wave. There are fears of a third wave, but no one knows how severe it will be, according to SC judge Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud.Some states have taken decision to open schools in a phased manner. These are fraught with grave complications,” he said.

“We have to balance the impact emotionally, mentally, with the dangers they may face if they mix together in schools. Plus, there is policy issue of vaccination for children,” the judge said.

He added that the governments themselves have to act with extreme care when exposing children to the infection.

“We cannot pass orders in the absence of data and scientific knowledge. We saw what happened across the world when schools were reopened at an early stage. Children have not been vaccinated yet,” SC judge Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud said.

He allowed the petitioner to withdraw the plea and said that a representation could be filed with the state or local authorities as the petitioner lived in Delhi.


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