Tamil Nadu

HC questions rationale behind making changes in textbooks

An aerial view of the Madras High Court. File

An aerial view of the Madras High Court. File   | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

Court seeks explanation from SCERT

The Madras High Court on Wednesday questioned the basis on which State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) takes a decision to add or delete content from the textbooks prescribed for school students and wanted to know the procedures that were followed before taking such decisions.

Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and R. Hemalatha raised the question during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition filed by advocate S. Doraisamy of Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK) against a circular issued by SCERT on January 10 for deleting a particular sentence from Class X social science textbook.

The sentence read that Hindu Mahasabha and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had taken a pronounced anti Muslim stance during the days that led to the partition. P. Chandrasekaran, secretary of Chennai chapter of RSS, had taken exception to the sentence and made a representation to delete it from the textbook.

When his plea was not answered, he filed a writ petition before the High Court. During the course of hearing, SCERT told the court that it had decided to delete the sentence from the copies to be printed in future.

Insofar as the copies that had already been distributed, it was stated that stickers would be pasted on top of the sentence.

A single judge of the court was also told that the SCERT had written to the Director of School Education as well as the Director of Matriculation Schools to ensure that the sentence was effaced, by pasting a sticker on top of it, from the textbooks that had already been distributed to the students.

When advocate V. Elangovan, representing the present PIL petitioner, assailed such a decision taken by SCERT and contended that history should not be allowed to be changed, the judges called for an explanation from SCERT as to how could it make changes to a textbook solely on the basis of an individual’s representation.

They directed Special Government Pleader C. Munusamy to ensure that a counter affidavit along with supporting documents by March 19.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 11:28:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-questions-rationale-behind-making-changes-in-textbooks/article30805485.ece

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