The Kerala High Court in a reference order, has refused to extend an interim direction to the Regional Director, CBSE to give permission for conducting vacation classes in CBSE Schools. However, considering that the matter requires reconsideration, directed the petitioners to approach the division bench for the same.

“Summer vacation is necessary to the students for spending time with their kith and kins and for a mental break. Concentrating on school books alone would not be sufficient for the children. Let them sing, let them dance, let them eat their favourite food leisurely without the fear of next day’s home work, let them enjoy their favourite television programmes, Let them play cricket, football or their favourite sports items and let them enjoy trips with their kith and kins. A hectic academic year is coming. Before that, a break is necessary for the student community. The students of 10th standard and Higher Secondary School definitely need a break before they enter their decisive academic year in their life. In such situation, I am of the considered opinion that the order passed by the DGE is the need of the hour.”, a bench of Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan observed in the matter.

In the present matter Kerala CBSE School Management Association along with other petitioners challenged an impugned order passed by the Director of General Education (DGE), Thiruvananthapuram. The DGE directed that all the Primary, Secondary and Higher Secondary schools in Government, Aided and Unaided sectors would not conduct vacation classes. The DGE cited the prevailing atmospheric temperature as the reason.

As per Rule 1 Chapter VII of the Kerala Education Rules all schools shall be closed for summer vacation every year on the last working day of March and reopened on the first working day of June unless otherwise notified by the Director.

Therefore, the contention of the petitioner was that the DGE has no power to issue such an order against CBSE schools.

The petitioners further submitted that since there is only one week more to complete the summer vacation, hence the interim order may be extended for one week.

It is pertinent to note that the Court had earlier stayed the implementation of the DGE’s order for two weeks, while relying on its judgment in ISS (English Medium) Senior Secondary School, Perinthalmanna v. State of Kerala, 2018 (2) KHC 829. In the order it had also observed that "In order to compensate the loss of working days, it would be necessary to find out additional class hours to complete the syllabus. Otherwise it would also be a violation of child rights".

In ISS Senior Secondary School, the Court had observed that if there is no objection from the parents, teachers and students, the special classes could be conducted during the summer vacation on condition that the school authorities will provide basic facilities. The bench had further observed, that:

- the summer classes were conducted at the request and advice of the parents and students of various schools, and classes are being conducted only for classes 11 and upwards (which does not go against the child rights mandate);

-the classes are conducted for the benefit of students to provide them with the necessary impetus for excellence in future and to finish the vast portions, thus equipping them better in completing the syllabi effectively;

- since there is no case for anyone that the students are compelled to sit in vacation classes against their desire, the schools are free to conduct additional classes during summer vacation 2018.;

-but if any student or parent raise any objection regarding the conduct of such classes, it shall be taken due notice by the competent authority.

The single-judge bench, however, while disagreeing with the findings in ISS Senior Secondary School case, was of the opinion that the DGE only reiterated the rule under the Kerala Education Rules. Also, that the authority of the DGE to pass such an order has already been upheld by the Court.

"I am of the considered opinion that, the dictum laid down in ISS English Medium Senior Secondary School's case (supra) would go against the rules, especially because the rule is not declared invalid. Therefore the observations in the above case require reconsideration", the bench opined in the matter.

While stressing on the need of vacations for students, the Court further added, "Moreover, there is a purpose in giving vacations to the students' community. After a hectic academic year, the students need a break. That is why the summer vacation is given to the students. The students should enjoy the vacations and rejuvenate for their next academic year. Holiday breaks allow the students to shift their focus from traditional study materials. They can reach to their other ambitions in extracurricular activities, which they are generally not able to address during the school year".

Accordingly, the Court denied to extend the interim order, while the petitioners were set at liberty to agitate their contention before the Division Bench, and further directed the Registry to place the matter before the Acting Chief Justice forthwith for passing appropriate orders. The matter stood adjourned.

Cause Title: Kerala CBSE School Management Association (Regd) v. State Of Kerala

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