The Karnataka High Court has issued a notice on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed against the decision of the State Government to not implement National Education Policy, 2020 (NEP).

The petitioners namely Advocate Girish Bharadwaj and Advocate Ananda Murthy R sought directions from the Court to continue with the implementation of NEP, 2020 in the State.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice N.V. Anjaria and Justice K.V. Aravind has directed the issuance of notice to the State Government in the writ petition.

Senior Advocate Aruna Shyam appeared for the Petitioners.

The petition filed through Advocate Suyog Herele reads, “The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is comprehensive policy framework that aims to reform and revitalize the education system in India. The policy emphasizes the importance of equitable and inclusive education and focuses on providing quality education to all, regardless of their socio-economic background or location and promotes the use of technology, innovation and education research. The implementation of this new policy has led to a significant development in the education sector of the nation.”

The first National Policy on Education was promulgated by the Government of India in the year 1951, the second in the year 1966, third in the year 1986 and now the fourth in the year 2020. The PIL mentions that the Union of India constituted a committee in 2017 consisting of eminent scholars, scientists, vice-chancellors, professors, entrepreneurs etc., for framing new NEP and the committee after proper and thorough research, due discussion and deliberation with all the stake holders, framed the policy.

“India is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. Education in India covers different levels and types of learning, such as early childhood education, primary education, secondary education, higher education and vocational education therefore a National Education Policy was formulated to provide a framework and a roadmap for the educational institutions and students alike. A new and revised National Education Policy was promulgated in the year 2020 by the Central Government and the same came to be implemented in the state vide government order dated 07.08.2021”, the petition reads.

It has been pointed out in the PIL that when things stood as above due to change in dispensation of Government, the political party in power has all of a sudden mechanically decided to withdraw the implementation of NEP, 2020 in the State and has decided to frame its own State Education Policy from the coming academic year and a committee to frame Education policy has been constituted.

“National Educational policy, 2020 is already implemented in the state and now withdrawing it for no reason will create confusion among its stake holders like the Institutions, Universities, Students and parents and the students will be deprived of a dynamic and comprehensive policy. Hence, the Petitioner has preferred the present PIL in the interest of the student. Educational institutions and any other stakeholders”, the petitioners contended.

The petitioners further submitted that the student fraternity of the State would be greatly benefitted by continuing with the implementation of NEP 2020 and that the relief sought in the petition is in the larger interest of public and it is not concerned to any particular group/community or individual. They stated that the majority of beneficiaries are students and they have no means of earning and as such, they are not in a position to access the court by themselves.

“… the state of Karnataka was the first state to implement the National Education Policy, 2020 along with a route for its implementation. … Thereafter many states like State of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Assam have taken steps to implement the policy. … The impugned order passed by the Respondent no.3 is arbitrary, illegal, perverse and without jurisdiction. As such the same is liable to be quashed”, the petition urges.

The PIL states that the petition involves serious question of public importance, as such the interim order is prayed in the interest of students who are major stake holders and if the same is not granted as sought, it would result in confusion and irreparable damage to their career and future.

Therefore, the petitioners sought directions to quash the order of the State and to continue with the implementation of NEP 2020.

Cause Title- Girish Bharadwaj & Anr. v. The Union of India & Ors. (Writ Petition No. 5838 of 2024)