While emphasizing the importance of physical activity and sports infrastructure in schools, the Madras High Court has directed the State to ensure that physical education is given equal importance as other subjects.

The Bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N. Mala made this observation while dealing with a writ petition seeking directions to state to frame a set of guidelines for the proper instruction of physical education in public and private schools with adequate infrastructure facilities for physical education of school children, including playground/gym, etc.

Petitioner Dr.P.R.Subaschadran who had appeared in person submitted that the government has not paid requisite attention to physical education as a subject in schools, which resulted in inadequate infrastructure in schools and lack of physical education teachers.

State Government Pleader P. Muthukumar appearing on behalf of state submitted a status report which revealed that out of 1434 schools in Chennai District, 367 schools do not have playgrounds and these schools were utilizing the public grounds/ Corporation/Municipality playgrounds after obtaining requisite permission from the authorities.

The Court observed that the significance of physical activities and sports infrastructure has been emphasized in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

"…it needs to be emphasised that sports and physical activities are integral to education and, therefore, infrastructure for sports is indispensable. Physical activity enhances the physical and mental strength of the student, apart from developing comradeship, instilling discipline and imbibing leadership qualities.", the Court noted.

The Court directed that the Government on receipt of requests from schools not having playground, should consider such requests keeping in mind the interest of the students.

The Court further directed the state to constitute a Committee within a month to monitor and ensure that physical education is given its due importance and requisite infrastructure is made available in all schools.

"The Committee shall thereupon undertake the exercise of identifying the schools not having requisite infrastructure for imparting physical education and ensure that physical education is provided by all the schools in the State of Tamil Nadu. To undertake the aforesaid exercise, the Committee shall utilize the experience of the petitioner, appearing in person, and he shall also be associated with the Committee. The Committee would submit its first report within three months of its constitution with follow-up action.", the Court held.

Cause Title- Dr. P.R.Subaschadran v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.

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