The Kerala High Court has allowed schools, except the ones governed by KER (Kerala Education Rules) Calendar, to hold vacation classes for the students between 7.30 AM till 10.30 AM.

The Court observed that the school calendar prescribed under KER cannot be extended to CBSE, ICSE schools, etc.

Merely for the reason that for the purpose of affiliation, CBSE insisted recognition or NOC from the State Government, that alone will not bring such schools as a recognised school under KER, the court said.

The Court was deciding a batch of writ petitions based on a reference order of the Single Judge which was related to conducting vacation classes during summer vacation of the schools in the State.

The pleas challenged an order of the Director of General Education (DGE), Thiruvananthapuram, by which all the Primary, Secondary, and Higher Secondary Schools in Government, Aided, and Unaided sectors were directed not to conduct vacation classes.

A Division Bench comprising Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque and Justice M.A. Abdul Hakhim said, “The parents cannot barter away their child’s right to rest and leisure in exchange to focus exclusively on studies. There is a prevailing belief that prioritising academic studies would protect the best interest of the child. However, growth of child is ensured not solely based on knowledge but also through recreational activities. The child is also having equal right to engage in cultural, artistic, leisure activities. This cannot be compromised. The State also cannot ignore the fact that that the child cannot forgo their academic pursuits. However, how to balance children’s academic pursuits and their right to recreational activities is a matter to be considered by the State.”

Senior Advocates K.P. Satheesan and Dhanya P. Ashokan represented the petitioners while Standing Counsel S. Nirmal and Special Government Pleader T.B. Hood represented the respondents.

Facts of the Case -

The Single Judge in its reference order doubted the law propounded in I.S.S (English Medium) Senior Secondary School, Perinthalmanna v. State of Kerala [2018 (2) KHC 849] in which the Single Judge observed that if there is no objection from the parents, teachers and students, the special classes can be conducted during the summer vacation on a condition that the school authorities will provide basic facilities. In the reference order, the Single Judge disagreed with the views in the judgment of the said case as the children required time for leisure and recreation during summer holidays.

There were two sets of cases before the court- one, the schools which were having affiliation with Boards other than State Board such as affiliation with CBSE, ICSE Boards and the other was the schools having recognition under the KER. Hence, the matters were placed before the Division Bench based on such reference order of the Single Bench.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of the counsel observed, “We also cannot overlook the exposure of the children to summer heat during vacation. The State also need to address this concern as well. The present regulation apparently is invoking power under the Kerala Education Act and Rules. That power cannot be utilised to govern a competing interest and rights of the child and their welfare. The executive Government alone can address the issue.”

The Court added that the statutory authorities under KER are incompetent to decide such issues and in this matter, they invoked statutory power under KER which cannot be extended to schools other than those recognised under the Kerala Education Act and Rules.

“We find that the judgment of the learned Single Judge ISS English Medium (supra) is not correct enunciation of law. As rightly noted by the learned Single Judge in reference order, recreational rights cannot be overlooked by parental authority to decide on academical pursuits. Therefore, State can devise its own mechanisms”, it noted.

The Court, therefore, held that the State holds executive power to regulate summer vacation but the same cannot be done based on the calendar prescribed in KER for non-KER schools.

“The State will have to balance academic interest of the child and their right to recreational activities in a delicate equilibrium”, it further said.

Taking note of the ensuing vacation, the Court permitted all the schools other than the schools governed by KER calendar to hold vacation classes between 7:30 a.m. till 10:30 a.m., provided that the arrangement will be subject to future executive orders governing vacation classes.

“We also find that law laid down in I.S.S. (English Medium) case (supra) is not a good law to be followed. … In regard to W.P.(C).No.16068/2023, we find this school is a recognised school under KER. This school will have to follow calendar under KER. Regarding the schools governed by the Kerala Education Rules and Act which does not follow the KER calendar, action can be initiated against the Manager. In the absence of any challenge to the Rule in KER, no relief can be granted”, it concluded.

Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the petitions.

Cause Title- Kerala CBSE School Management Association (Regd) & Ors. v. State of Kerala & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2024:KER:26817)


Petitioners: Senior Advocate K.P. Satheesan, Senior Advocate Dhanya P. Ashokan, Advocates P. Mohandas, K. Sudhinkumar, Sabu Pullan, Gokul D. Sudhakaran, and R. Bhaskara Krishnan.

Respondents: Standing Counsel S. Nirmal, Spl. GP T.B. Hood, and Advocate Thoufeek Ahamed.

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