Bijoe Emmanuel & Ors. Vs State of Kerela & Ors. 1987 AIR 748

Bijoe Emmanuel & Ors. Vs State of Kerela & Ors. 1987 AIR 748


Bijoe Emmanuel & Ors. … Petitioner

Vs

State of Kerela & Ors. … Respondent

Bench: Justice Reddy O. Chinnappa

Facts/Background of the case:

1. The case involves three kids, Bijou, Binu Mol, and Bindu Emmanuel, who attended a Kerala school. They went to school every day and even took part in the morning assembly.

2. When the National Anthem was performed, however, they did not sing along with the other pupils and instead stood in silence.

3. Because it was against their religious convictions as Jehovah's Witnesses, their father had urged them not to salute the flag or sing the national song.


4. A commission was formed to investigate and report, and the findings revealed that the youngsters were "law abiding" and did not insult the National Anthem. The Head Mistress, on the orders of the Deputy Inspector of Schools, dismissed the appellants from school on July 26, 1985.

5. The Emmanuel children's objection was not to the National Anthem's wording or feelings. They didn't sing the National Anthem, but they always stood in for it when it was played to demonstrate their appreciation. They didn't sing because they believed and believed that their faith forbade them from participating in any rituals other than praying to Jehovah, their God.

6. After a request by the children's father to the Education Authorities that the children be allowed to attend school pending government orders was denied, the appellants filed a Writ Petition in the High Court seeking an order prohibiting the authorities from preventing the children from attending school. The appellants' request was denied by a single judge and later by a Division Bench.


7. The Kerala High Court's ruling was based on the Kerala Education Act. The Act does not contain such a provision, but Section 36 empowers the Kerala government to adopt rules to carry out the Act's requirements in order to ensure a high level of education and courses in Kerala schools. According to Rule 9 of Chapter 8 of the Act, excellent moral education is an important aspect of the curriculum that does not harm people's religious and social sensitivities. Love for one's nation is one of the moral qualities emphasised. Students who are found guilty of willful disobedience, mischief, fraud, examination malpractice, or behaviour that has a detrimental impact on other students may be suspended or removed from school.

8. The father then filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court of India, citing Article 136 of the Constitution.


9. The petitioners said that while they did not sing the National Anthem, they did stand to demonstrate their respect for it on special occasions. The youngsters defended themselves by claiming that their faith forbade them from participating in such rites unless

it was in their prayers to Jehovah, their God. They didn't act or believe the way they did because they were obstinate. They emphasised that singing the song constituted idolatry, and that it was an act of disobedience to their God. The respondents, on the other hand, defended their acts by citing the Kerala Education Act and Rules.

Issues:

i. Is the expulsion of the children from school in accordance with the Indian Constitution's Article 19(1) and Article 25 guarantees of rights?



Judgement:

1. The state's capacity to impose arbitrary and excessive restrictions on its inhabitants was restrained by the court. "To compel each and every child to sing the National Anthem notwithstanding his sincere, conscientious religious objection...would plainly breach the rights provided by Art. 19(1) (a) and Art. 25(1) [of the Constitution of India]," the judgement concluded.

2. The three students were found not guilty of disrespecting the National Anthem simply by refusing to sing it, according to the Supreme Court. Furthermore, they did show respect while the National Anthem was played.


3. The children were allowed to study at the institution without any restrictions, according to the court. Furthermore, the court stated that our traditions instilled tolerance in us, our philosophy promotes tolerance, and our Constitution embodies tolerance, thus we should not diminish it.



This article is written by Tanishq Chandel of Amity Law School.


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