Pro-Kannada policy incurs SC wrath

Pro-Kannada policy incurs  SC wrath


The Supreme Court on Tuesday frowned upon the imposition of mother tongue as the medium of instruction, and warned it could go against the interests of students struggling in the present competitive world dominated by English.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan felt that if the states try to impose their mother tongue on unwilling students, it could turn counter-productive and make them ineligible even for clerical jobs.
“They are unable to get even clerical posts. It is easy to say things. How do we survive in the world,” the bench asked the Karnataka government on its decision to make Kannada as the medium of instruction for Classes 1 to 1V.

The apex court said if mother tongue was imposed on students, it would only further aggravate the problems of those studying in villages. “Otherwise, students from villages can’t compete with their peers in urban areas,” the court said.

The court rejected the argument of senior counsel P P Rao appearing for the State who, quoting experts, claimed that the mother tongue needed to be imparted at an impressionable age for overall intellectual and cultural development of the child.
“Parents are ready to pay Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 for getting their children admitted to English medium schools. This is the real state of affairs. They do not want to send them to schools of their mother tongue. It should be left to the parents,” the bench observed.
The court refused to stay the Karnataka High Court’s ruling that quashed a State government decision to make Kannada compulsory.

The court directed the State government to allow schools which had applied for recognition with English and other languages as the medium of instruction.
While fixing August first week for arguments on the issues in the petition, the bench stayed the contempt proceedings initiated by the High Court against the State government officials till further order.

On the petition of a number of private school societies, the High Court had initiated contempt proceedings against the officials of the State education department for not allowing them to start schools with English as the medium of instruction.
Advocate K V Dhananjaya, appearing for the private schools’ association from Karnataka, submitted that schools and the people should be given the right to choose the medium of instruction.

Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati and Karnataka advocate Sanjay Hegde submitted that it was a policy decision by the State government and teaching Kannada at the primary level would help children.

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