Madras High Court: Deliberating upon the grim situation that how the courts have to face cases related to juvenile crimes, matrimonial disputes, and other disputes revealing the moral depreciation in the society, the bench of R. Mahadevan, J., directed the Government to include 108 Chapters/ Adhigarams of Thirukkural (Arathupal and Porutpal) in the curriculum of students between VI- XII Standards in the syllabus for the next academic year, because one of the important objective of education is to build a nation of moral values.
The petitioner, a retired government official contended that in the recent times there has been great deal of moral degradation amongst the youth, which is visible in the rising number of matrimonial disputes, emergence of old age homes etc. The petitioner further added that as a senior citizen it gives him considerable agony to see the moral standards of the society falling so rapidly. The petitioner via his counsel A. Saravanakumar, presented disturbing statistics of juvenile crime rates from 2011. The petitioner therefore stated that inculcating the principles of Thirukkural in school syllabus will have a positive impact on the psyche of students. The respondents however argued that neither the petitioner has a vested right to seek such a change in the syllabus, nor the State has any duty to accede to the request of the petitioner.
On basis of the issues raised and the contentions forwarded, the question that came up before the Court was that whether the state is under any obligation to restructure the syllabus by including Thirukkural under the compelling circumstances and whether the petitioner has a right to seek such relief. The Court observed that the petitioner has sought the writ of mandamus to protect his right to live in an orderly State which according to the petitioner threatened by the increasing number of offences. The Court discussed at length about the Directive Principles and Fundamental Duties enshrined by the Constitution and the principles of Thirukkural. Stating that “where there is a will, there is way” the Government can include 108 Adhigarams of first 2 chapters of Thirukkural in a phased manner, because the Constitution imposes an obligation upon the States to frame policies to preserve the fundamental rights of the citizens. Furthermore Articles 21A and 24 of the Constitution protects the right of the children by mandating the State to frame policies to provide education. The Court further observed that moral values are more important and if they are lost then there is no stopping to the moral degradation of an individual. The principles of Thirukkural would introduce a student to various facets of life and will equip them to deal with them and would give them the “inner strength to withstand any storm”. [S.Rajarathinam v. Secretary to the Government, 2016 SCC OnLine Mad 2373, decided on 26.04.2016]