Court refuses to interfere with inquiry against Isha Yoga Centre

The TN Commission for Protection of Child Rights had issued a summons to the Isha Centre in 2016; the Madras High Court has directed the Centre to participate in the inquiry

The Madras High Court has refused to interfere with a suo motu inquiry initiated by the Tamil Nadu Commission for Protection of Child Rights in 2016, to find out whether there was any violation of child rights in the schools run by Isha Yoga Centre at Velliangiri in Coimbatore — the schoools are run as per Gurukul form of education.

Justice S.M. Subramaniam disposed of a writ petition filed by the Yoga Centre in 2016 and directed it to participate in the inquiry. He also directed the Commission to issue fresh summons for the administrator of the Yoga Centre to appear and tender an explanation. The inquiry was ordered to be completed in eight weeks.

“The suo motu powers conferred on the Commission is to ensure that educational institutions function under recognised scheme of education pattern and in the event of any violation of rights of children, actions are imminent and therefore, mere issuance of summons would not provide cause for the petitioner to institute the present petition,” the judge wrote.

He went on to state: “At the inquiry stage itself, the petitioner has approached the court which cannot be appreciated as they are expected to avail the opportunities to be provided by the competent authorities for the purpose of establishing their case and to defend the allegations… It is needless to say the authorities are bound to conduct the inquiry in a free and fair manner.”

The court was told that Isha Foundation was a trust founded by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev on January 7, 1992. It runs nine schools in rural areas and most of them were in tsunami-affected areas. The trust had also adopted 31 government schools under its school adoption programme.

The children in these schools were taught basic elements of English and elementary mathematics required for day-to-day life. The foundation imparts Vedic knowledge by following the Gurukul system of education where students live in proximity of the Guru under the Guru-Sishya Parampara.

The writ petitioner claimed the children were brought up in an atmosphere of dedication, discipline and focus whereby each aspect of the child’s lifestyle was carefully chosen to orient them towards their inner nature and urged the court to quash the summons.

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