The Ministry of Human Resource Development on Monday told the Lok Sabha that it had not issued any guidelines to Kendriya Vidyalayas about morning prayers, PTI reported.

“No guidelines have been issued to Kendriya Vidyalayas forcing the students to recite their morning prayers, which are of a religious nature, compulsorily with folded hands and closed eyes,” Minister of State for Human Resource Development Upendra Kushwaha said in response to a question.

The Supreme Court had in January issued a notice to the Centre, asking it to respond to a petition that said a prayer sung during the morning assembly at the 1,125 Kendriya Vidyalayas across the country violates the Constitution by promoting one religion. However, Kushwaha on Monday denied that the top court had asked for any such clarification.

The petition was filed by a lawyer, Veenayak Shah, who contended that the prayer would create a “lot of obstacles in developing a scientific temperament among the students”. An educational institute funded by the government, the lawyer argued in his plea, cannot propagate any particular religion as mentioned in Article 28 (1) of the Indian Constitution.

He added that parents and children of minority communities as well as atheists and others such as agnostics, sceptics and rationalists who do not agree with this system of prayer “would find the imposition of this prayer constitutionally impermissible”.