Probing the Prayers: SC

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The culture of prayers in natural to every society and a secular country must not create divides on this ground.

A bench of justices Navin Sinha and RF Nariman sent notices to the Kendriya Vidyalayas for their ritual of prayer in the morning assembly, which were Hindu prayers, and were obligatory for all the students to offer prayers, irrespective of their faith.

The petition is moved by a lawyer based in MP, who learnt from his children that they were subjected to the same ritual. The petitioner states that that instead of building scientific temper in the tender minds, the country’s largest school, is promoting fantasies and  a culture of relying on something that they don’t know over themselves.

The petitioner has also asserted that the prayers in Hindi and Sanskrit are imposed on students from the minority communities as well, who might not find it to be in consonance with their religious beliefs, and it maybe impermissible under the Constitution.

The SC, in response to the said petition, shot off a notice to the government and the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, and also ordered them to end the practice, pending further orders.

Justice Nariman branded it as a serious issue pertaining to a violation of one’s religious rights in one go. The move will have very far and wide ranging repercussions in the society.

The matter ha not been viewed from a perspective which forms the basic feature of the Indian society, while the petitioner stated that he had no personal interest, but it was for the minorities that he feels, he will be doing a service. While this issue has come to the fore, the petitioner has not taken the notice of the fact the missionary schools, and other minority schools, have a trend to promote their methods of prayers, while at the same time promoting their religion.

This fact also need to be inspected from the roots of the societal values where the majority people irrespective of their caste, and religion, give  a prominent place to the concept of a Supreme Person, in-charge of their lives.

This fact, has its echo in the very schools of our system that cater to the same masses, the name of the lord is invoked to bring down positivity and inculcate values in the students, as has been argued over by prominent educationists over the years.

The fact that prayers in Hindi or Sanskrit are violative of religious beliefs of people, will have to be adjudged from the perspective of the contents of the prayers itself. In the worst case scenarios where the prayer refers to God as a Supreme Person, in any term which excludes idolatry, or cult, shall not be brought in question.

The society has fluctuating morals, while religion provides a constant set of basic human values, is another argument, which will stand good today’s times, while the State must promote a cult of cultural sensitization, while at the same time inculcating morals, the Court will have to take a task which shall not be very fruitful in its outcome.

The Court will have to define morality and supplant strong arguments against theology. Also the Court will have to take on the minority institutions for preaching in their own ways too.

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