Citizens of India questioning its intention/ Purpose of Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) promoting Digital Learning Act against Country’s Interest: Bombay High Court [Read Order]

In the 21st century, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the Government that promotes digital methods of education must “be hailed a big progressive measure taken by the Government in making digital position of India stronger and firmer in the Comity of Nations”, the Bombay High Court said recently.

The Court made the observation while dealing with a petition filed against such an SOP brought about by the State (Imran Israel Sheikh v. Union of India and others).

The plea prompted the Court’s criticism when it was appraised that the petitioner had not approached the Government to address the cited grievances.

The Nagpur Bench of of Justices SB Shukre and SM Modak observed,

“If the Standard Operating Procedure encourages e-learning, any citizen of India questioning its intentions and purposes would only be acting against interest and well being of his own country. A citizen of India, however, may come across some issues in effective implementation of the Standard Operating Procedure but for that matter his duty would be to point out the same to the concerned authority, so that necessary corrective measures are taken by the authority.”

In this case, the Bench opined that “In the present form of petition with the kind of prayers that the petition makes, we are of the prima- facie impression that the petition represents only a regressive step in the field of education.”

The Court noted that the petition did not point towards any inherent contradictions, defects or lacunae in the policy move underlying the June 15 SOP so as to term it arbitrary, irrational or unreasonable.

Rather, the Bench noted that the grievances were primarily oriented around difficulties in implementing the SOP. As such, the Court remarked that there was no reason for the Court to interfere on grounds of violation of any fundamental right to education.

The Bench proceeded to direct the petitioner to approach the Government authorities to redress the cited lacunae in the SOP “with necessary facts and proofs, and not just surmises or imaginary facts.”

The Bench added that the petitioner may approach the Court again if the Government does respond to such representations.

Published by Sneha Vishwakarma

Advocate, Bombay High court.

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