Surya Namaskar is just a form of exercise: Bombay HC

Mumbai: Observing that 'Surya Namaskar' is just a form of exercise good for the body, the Bombay High Court on Fridaydeclined to grant an interim stay on a resolution by BMC making the yoga and (sunsalutation) mandatory in the civic schools in the metropolis.

The court made the observation on a PIL challenging the August 23 resolution adopted by the Shiv Sena-BJP controlled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which sparked protest from the opposition parties dubbing it as part of the move to "saffronise" education.

The petitioner, Masood Ansari, a social worker, had sought a stay on the civic body resolution holding that it violated fundamental rights and is "malafide and bad in law".

He said children attending the BMC-run schools mostly belong to poorer sections of society and come from all religions, castes and communities.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M S Sonak observed that people should not look at it just by the name 'Surya Namaskar'.

"Don't go by the is just a form of exercise which is good for the body," Justice Chellur said.

The HC, while posting the petition for further hearing after two weeks, declined to grant an interim stay on implementation of the resolution.

Anjali Awasthi, counsel for the petitioner, argued that minor students cannot be expected to perform 'Surya Namaskar', which is a combination of 12 'asanas', daily.

To this, the HC said it would consider this argument at a later stage and would call for a report to ascertain if the sunsalutation exercise can be performed by minors.

The BMC last month had adopted the proposal moved by BJP corporator Samita Kamble to make the Surya Namaskar mandatory in over 1,200 municipal schools.

The resolution was backed by the ruling Shiv Sena, but triggered sharp reaction from the Congress and other opposition parties even as the BJP defended the move saying that religious motives should not be infused into the decision.