In December 2015, the supreme court said that it could not prevent a citizen from doing yoga nor force someone into doing it. A bench of then newly appointed Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices AK Sikri & R Banumathi announced the same whilst rejecting the plea of an 85-year-old advocate and the petitioner of a relevant case JC Seth who sought an early hearing of a PIL attempting to make yoga a compulsory part of the curriculum in schools. Seth tried to reason with the court that the only reason he was capable to come to court and argue this PIL at his age should go to yoga, of which he was a regular practitioner. It is the court that had earlier called for responses of state-level education bodies to the said PIL.
Not convinced by Seth’s contentions, the court said, “There is no urgency for listing the PIL early. You do yoga every day. No one will prevent you from practicing yoga. But we cannot force anyone to do yoga.” It asked Seth to mention for early hearing in the new year in 2016.
Only on the 7th November, a separate hearing of the same issue pertaining to a PIL filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who is also a Delhi BJP spokesperson set out to ensure directions to the Ministry of Human Resources Development, NCERT, NCTE and the CBSE to “provide standard textbooks of ‘Yoga and Health Education’ for students of Class one to eight”, was heard.
Seth at the time, wanted SC to direct governments to make yoga a compulsion and to give it a status of right to free and compulsory education guaranteed to children between the ages of six and 14 under Article 21A of the Constitution.
Results and comments of the November 7th hearing of Upadhyay’s PIL haven’t surfaced as yet.